Police officers undergo tens of thousands of hours of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training, while neglecting the importance of free speech, a new report has claimed.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that officers are being taught that gender is ‘culturally determined’ and that “biological sex is irrelevant to an individual’s innate sense of gender”.
The Free Speech Union (FSU) said there is a “free speech crisis” in British policing and that forces were spending little or no time on the right to freedom of expression.
The FSU’s report states that the concept of ‘gender identity’ is not the consensus position and it is “concerning to find police EDI training endorsing one side of this ongoing debate”.
The report claims that officers, primed by “partisan EDI training to see any criticism of gender identity as intrinsically ‘hateful’”, have been arresting “gender critical speakers without a second thought”.
Adequate free speech training would have taught officers that such speech is legally protected and should never have been a criminal matter in the first place.
According to the FSU: “The principal cause of the free speech crisis in British policing appears to be that the police simply do not know anything about the laws protecting free speech.”
Prioritise free speech
Last week, the Home Secretary Suella Braverman laid a new code of practice on non-crime hate incidents (NCHI) before Parliament.
In a statement, the Government said everyone should be able to engage in “lawful debate” on hot button issues without “police interference”.
According to the code, any interference with a person’s “right to freedom of expression” needs to be “proportionate and necessary”.