Since 2015, Police Scotland has logged more than 3,300 “hate incidents.” These are jokes, statements, or behaviors that do not involve any criminality, but which someone else perceives to be motivated by hatred (usually on account of race, religion, or — what else? — gender identity). “An offensive joke may be reported by someone, but not amount to any criminality, so we would log this as a hate incident,” Police Scotland explained.
But how, exactly, do the police decide what constitutes “hate”? According to official guidelines, that doesn’t matter. “Hate incidents” should be filed “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element.”
In England, meanwhile, an ex-cop, Harry Miller, won his court battle against Humberside Police at London’s High Court. Miller took the issue to court after police showed up at his workplace to “check his thinking.” He had involved himself in the online transgender debate, someone had reported him for a hate crime and — after investigation — the police found an additional 30 “transphobic” tweets.
“In Great Britain, we have never had a Cheka, a Stasi, or a Gestapo,” Justice Julian Knowles told the courtroom in siding with Miller. Nevertheless, the court also made it clear that the police guidance itself — i.e. recording “hate incidents” — was lawful. That ruling needs to be challenged. If only Brits had a First Amendment…