Children who repeat their parents’ views in the school playground could see mum and dad investigated for ‘hate crime’, the General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation has said.
Calum Steele warned the Justice Committee that private conversations rejecting transgender ideology could still see parents reported to the police under Scotland’s proposed hate crime Bill.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf is refusing to include a “dwelling defence” in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, insisting that ‘hateful speech’ in the home deserves criminal sanction.
Mr Steele told MSPs: “We have to recognise that there are some fairly hot topics that can be discussed in homes that could then find themselves being repeated in public”.
He added: “Very obviously the one that presents itself front and centre at this moment in time in Scotland is transgender identity”.
Speaking in favour of a “dwelling defence”, Mr Steele outlined a possible scenario where a conversation in a home on transgender identity is then “repeated in the playground — ‘my mum’ or ‘my dad said’ — and is then repeated to further parents who hold a different view”.
The General Secretary went on to warn the Committee that whilst he thought such a view might be deemed insulting “at a conceptual level”, he did not think that “it would be too much of a stretch” for someone to argue that it was a ‘hate crime’.
In September, the Scottish Government agreed to raise the threshold of the ‘stirring up’ offences from behaviour ‘likely to stir up hatred’ to behaviour ‘intended to stir up hatred’.
However, The Christian Institute and others have warned that among the free speech protections left out of the Scottish Bill is the crucial defence protecting conversations in the home from police intervention.
Holyrood’s Justice Committee is due to complete its report on the hate crime Bill by 18 December 2020.