A national newspaper has said police time and resources are being wasted by making officers in England and Wales “arbiters of acceptable opinion”.
The Telegraph criticised the police for “the continued harassment of people, often Christians, for making perfectly lawful statements that are decreed ‘hate crimes’”.
In October the UK Government announced a Law Commission review to consider widening ‘hate crime’ legislation. This is despite there being 20,000 fewer officers than ten years ago and a rise in violent crime.
‘Perfectly lawful statements’
Journalist Caroline Farrow is being investigated by police in Surrey for criticising underage ‘sex change’ on Twitter. It came after a 2018 debate with trans activist Susie Green.
“This might be a point of issue between the two individuals but by what possible measure of sanity does it become a matter for a police investigation?” the newspaper editorial asked.
The Daily Telegraph believes hate crime laws are now routinely “being used to shut down perfectly legitimate opinion”.
Broadening the law
Last year in Scotland, Lord Bracadale QC recommended, as part of his independent review into hate crime legislation, that offences of “stirring up hatred” should be broadened.
The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly responded: “’Stirring up hatred’ is an extremely broad term which could mean only one person need to say they are ‘offended’ by something to result in a hate crime investigation.”