Police Scotland ‘not ready’ as 4,000 hate crime complaints filed in 24 hours

The Scottish Police Federation has warned that over a third of officers have not been trained on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act as it was revealed nearly 4,000 hate crime complaints were made within the first 24 hours of it becoming law.

David Kennedy, General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, criticised the Scottish Government for failing to provide enough resources to enforce the Act, while approximately 6,000 of Police Scotland’s 16,000 officers wait to undergo an online training session lasting just two hours.

He told BBC Scotland that it will be an “extremely difficult time” as the Act causes “havoc with trust in police in Scotland”, with “certain groups lined up waiting to make complaints about certain individuals”.

‘Damaging trust’

President of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) Rob Hay warned that activists could use the legislation to “score points against people who sit on the other side of a particularly controversial debate”.

He explained: “So there are two ways potentially that we could damage trust and confidence in the police — around whether the police response meets with expectations, and whether the police exceeded themselves in involving themselves in non-criminal matters.”

the consequences may be profound

Minister for Victims and Community Safety Siobhian Brown revealed that someone had lodged a complaint under her own name, demonstrating that people are indeed “making fake and vexatious complaints”.

Co-founder of the Fair Cop free speech group Sarah Phillimore said: “Everyone’s going to lose trust in the police”, while The Scotsman newspaper warned that the “unintended consequences may be profound, particularly if over-zealously enforced”.


Before the controversial Act came into effect, the ASPS warned that the legislation could cause officers to become drawn into “ill-tempered, abusive spats” between ‘fringe activists’.

Rob Hay told Holyrood’s Justice Committee that “public discourse on many controversial topics has descended into deeply polarised, entrenched positions” and activists “will seek to ‘weaponise’ the new legislation and associated police investigation”.

He said Police Scotland “must focus on those crimes and offences that cause the most harm and represent the highest risk to public safety. Should this new legislation result in a sustained increase in reported incidents, this will only be made harder, especially if those reports are spurious or misunderstand the extent of the legislation.”

Although the proposals remain highly controversial, significant amendments were made to the original Bill to stop it posing a major threat to evangelism and Christian comment on sexual ethics, following a campaign by The Christian Institute-backed group Free to Disagree.

Also see:


Rishi Sunak: ‘People should not be criminalised for upholding biological sex’

Irish Govt pledges to amend hate crime Bill after ‘listening to concerns’

Former CPS Director: ‘We don’t create thought crimes in this country’