An ex-police officer is spearheading a new group against transgender ‘hate laws’ which he says “inhibit freedom of expression”.
Harry Miller is leading the Fair Cop campaign, which says the current guidelines from the National College of Policing (NCP) are “unlawful”.
The group is taking legal action, proposing alternative guidance which would protect free speech “while continuing to provide robust protection against real crimes that are truly motivated by hatred”.
Right to debate
Those involved in the campaign group include Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, journalist Caroline Farrow, and Kate Scottow, who was arrested for referring to a transgender individual by his birth sex.
Miller, who has also been accused of committing hate incidents, said: “We’ve come together over the police’s attempts to criminalise people for expressing opinions, even though they don’t contravene any laws.”
“Our aim is to remind the police that under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights the public have the right to have debates and hold opinions without interference from the authorities.”
The current definition of a transgender hate incident used by the NCP is “Any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
The guidance also states that police should record hate incidents “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”.
Explaining Fair Cop’s reason for taking legal action, Miller said: “It is about the ability to have freedom of speech within the law and being allowed to have a debate without one group being able to call on the police to shut another group down.
“Free speech is being closed down by a climate of fear and secrecy and the police are contributing to this Orwellian culture.”