Police report 120,000 cases of ‘non-crime’ hate incidents
POLICE have recorded nearly 120,000 “non-crime” hate incidents which may have prevented the accused from getting jobs, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Despite police accepting that such incidents are not crimes, they are still logged on a system and can show up during a criminal records check when applying for work.
The figures were revealed as Harry Miller, a former police officer, won his court battle against Humberside Police, who investigated him over alleged “transphobic” tweets.
A High Court judge ruled that the Hate Crime Operational Guidelines, used by forces nationally, had been unlawfully used to interfere with Mr Miller’s freedom of speech.
The guidelines, introduced six years ago by the College of Policing, say any action perceived to be motivated by hostility towards religion, race or transgender identity must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”.
A total of 119,934 non-crime incidents were recorded by 34 forces in England and Wales between 2014, when the guidance came in, and 2019.
By far the most incidents were recorded by South Wales Police, who logged 13,856 cases – exceeding the country’s biggest police force, the Metropolitan Police, by more than 4,000.
The Metropolitan Police logged 9,473, followed by Merseyside, at 8,644, and Surrey, at 8,256, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws by The Telegraph.
In a landmark ruling, the High Court found the force had a “chilling effect” on the free speech rights of Mr Miller by visiting his place of work and suggesting he may face prosecution.
The married father of four was contacted by a community cohesion officer after a Twitter user complained he had shared a “transphobic limerick”.
Mr Justice Julian Knowles compared the actions of the police to the Stasi and Gestapo, as he ruled the tweets were
lawful, and said there was not “the slightest risk” Mr Miller would commit a criminal offence by continuing to tweet.
The right to hold opinions ranging from the inoffensive to “the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative”, he said, was a “cardinal democratic freedom”.
The judge added that the UK has never lived in an “Orewellian society” nor had it experienced “a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi”.
Clutching a copy of 1984 outside court, Mr Miller, 54, hailed the outcome as a “watershed moment for liberty” and vowed to continue tweeting. His solicitor, Paul Conrathe, said the ruling meant it was “entirely acceptable to hold the view and communicate that a trans woman is not a woman”.
“That view is not hateful, transphobic or unlawful,” he said.
The 65-page judgment said the reaction of the woman who complained about Mr Miller’s tweets, named as Mrs B, was, at times, “at the outer margin of rationality”. The judge said her statement – which suggested Mr Miller would have been anti-semitic during the Second World War – represented an “extreme mindset”.
It is expected that Mr Miller’s case will now be tested at the Supreme
Court, after Mr Justice Knowles granted a “leapfrog certificate” to allow it to skip the Court of Appeal stage.
Ian Wise QC, representing Mr Miller, cited non-crime statistics revealed by The Telegraph as he asked for the certificate to be granted.
He told the court: “I say that it is an issue that is inevitably going to go the
Supreme Court at some juncture in the near future and there is some urgency about this – these issues are arising on a daily basis.”
Mr Justice Knowles rejected Mr Miller’s wider challenge to the lawfulness of the College of Police guidance, ruling that it “serves legitimate purposes and is not disproportionate”.
Harry Miller celebrates victory yesterday on the steps of the court with his supporters, including Graham Linehan, the comedy writer and creator of Father Ted, who has been one of his most vociferous backers on social media