The legality of police recording 'non-hate crime incidents'

By Lee Xuan Yi


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-59727118


The Court of Appeal has ruled that Humberside Police acted unlawfully in following the College of Policing’s national guidelines in recording a ‘non-crime hate incident’.


What happened?


Harry Miller, a former police officer and executive chairman of the Reclaim Party, made several posts on Twitter on transgender issues. One of these tweets was: “I was assigned mammal at birth, but my orientation is fish. Don't mis-species me.”


Following this, the Humberside police recorded Miller’s tweets as being transphobic ‘non-crime hate incidents’. Miller was visited by the Humberside police.


The police claimed to be following guidance from the College of Policing, which tells police officers to record as hate incidents all those perceived by the person reporting them as motivated by hostility, including unfriendliness or dislike.


The judgment


The Court of Appeal ruled that the guidance was wrongly used by the police. Dame Sharp said, “The net for 'non-crime hate speech' is an exceptionally wide one which is designed to capture speech which is perceived to be motivated by hostility... regardless of whether there is evidence that the speech is motivated by such hostility”.


In response, a representative from the College of Policing indicated they would ‘make any changes as necessary’. Meanwhile, Miller proclaimed the judgment as a victory for freedom of expression in the United Kingdom.