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Man visited over 'hate crime' tweet has 'huge sympathy for officers'


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Former officer says following College of Policing guidance on hate crime is illegal.

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Date - 9th March 2021
By - Police Oracle

A former officer who is taking the College of Policing to the Court of Appeal over its hate crime guidance says he has a “huge amount of sympathy” for officers who have to follow it

Harry Miller, who describes himself as “gender critical”, was visited at work by an officer from Humberside Police in January 2019 over allegedly “transphobic” tweets.

An anonymous member of the public complained about Mr Miller’s tweets, leading Humberside Police to record the complaint as a “hate incident”.

Mr Miller, from Lincolnshire, challenged Humberside Police’s actions and the College of Policing’s guidance at the High Court.

Last year, the High Court ruled that Humberside Police’s actions were a “disproportionate interference” with Mr Miller’s right to freedom of expression.

But Mr Miller’s challenge to the College of Policing’s guidance was dismissed, with the High Court finding that it “serves legitimate purposes and is not disproportionate”.

At the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, Mr Miller’s lawyers argued the College of Policing’s guidance – which has since been updated – unlawfully “violates the right to freedom of expression”.

In written submissions Ian Wise QC said:  “A policy that mandates the recording of a ‘hate incident’ without there having to be any evidence of hate is quintessentially irrational and unreasonable as a matter of common law.”

Speaking outside court before the hearing, Mr Miller said: “Why we are here today is because we think it is entirely bizarre that following the guidance – as Humberside Police did – is illegal, but the guidance which they followed is legal.”

Mr Miller said he had “a huge amount of sympathy for regular police officers” who had to follow the guidance.

He added: “If following the guidance as assiduously as Humberside followed it can lead to the force being likened to the Gestapo, then we have to ask questions of the guidance.”

Mr Wise also argued that the guidance was uncertain, because “the reasonable – or indeed any – reader of the guidance simply would not know whether a particular statement would be recordable under the guidance”.

In the original High Court judgement Mr Justice Julian Knowles said: “The effect of the police turning up at (Mr Miller’s) place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated.

“To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom.

“In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.”

Jason Coppel QC, representing the College of Policing, said the guidance had been “fully replaced” by new guidance, which includes “a strong warning against police taking a disproportionate response to reports of a non-crime hate incident”, and directly referenced the High Court’s ruling.

Mr Coppel argued in written submissions that “perception-based recording of the hate element of an incident” was important for the police.

He said monitoring hate incidents “assists in the prevention of the escalation of hate-based activity” and “helps inform police action”.

Mr Coppel also argued that recording incidents on the basis of perception “avoids ‘secondary victimisation’, where a negative response given by an authority to a complaint of a hate incident results in those victims suffering further harm”.

In a statement before the hearing, Assistant Chief Constable Iain Raphael from the College of Policing said: “Our guidance is aimed at protecting people who may be targeted because of who they are.

“We know this is an area where people may be reluctant to report hate incidents to us because of the very personal nature of what they experience or perceive.

“We welcome the scrutiny of this case. Hate crime can have serious consequences and it is vital the police have the right tools to help them protect the public.”

The hearing before Dame Victoria Sharp, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Lady Justice Simler is due to conclude on Wednesday afternoon.

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1 hour ago, Fedster said:

Mr Coppel also argued that recording incidents on the basis of perception “avoids ‘secondary victimisation’, where a negative response given by an authority to a complaint of a hate incident results in those victims suffering further harm”.

Arguing that we shouldn't tell people that they're wrong in case it upsets them is a bizarre thing to suggest. What about harm caused to the other side of the allegation who has done no wrong yet gets recorded as if they have? Impartiality must be more important than hurt feelings. 

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I believe that Harry Miller is correct. It is the worst thought out legislation and the COP interpretation is beyond belief.  Is it any wonder that Policing is going to the dogs and open to derision. 

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I can see how some of the ideas of recording 'crimes' because they are perceived as such could be useful in the longterm understanding of how society is evolving, whether its a group or individual, but some off the ways it is translated into actions and deeds does go to the extreme.  IMHO, it is often to appease rather than have a real value.  Isn't the C of P there to help avoid that happening -  hoops, no, looks like they may be the instigators!

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8 hours ago, Zulu 22 said:

I believe that Harry Miller is correct. It is the worst thought out legislation and the COP interpretation is beyond belief.  Is it any wonder that Policing is going to the dogs and open to derision. 

It’s not legislation, it’s guidance. 

4 hours ago, BlueBob said:

I can see how some of the ideas of recording 'crimes' because they are perceived as such could be useful in the longterm understanding of how society is evolving, whether its a group or individual, but some off the ways it is translated into actions and deeds does go to the extreme.  IMHO, it is often to appease rather than have a real value.  Isn't the C of P there to help avoid that happening -  hoops, no, looks like they may be the instigators!

This is not about recording crimes, it’s about recording incidents. 

What may be disproportionate is not the classification of the incident but the response to it. If someone reports bad driving then it’s classified as a road related incident. Doesn’t mean cops will be reporting the other party for careless or dangerous driving without some evidence, or even speaking to the ‘offending’ driver.  If someone reports being victimised because of their protected characteristic then it’s a hate incident. Again there is no need to take any action in every case other than recording the incident and giving the reporting person appropriate advice. 

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13 hours ago, Sceptre said:

Arguing that we shouldn't tell people that they're wrong in case it upsets them is a bizarre thing to suggest. What about harm caused to the other side of the allegation who has done no wrong yet gets recorded as if they have? Impartiality must be more important than hurt feelings. 

In written submissions Ian Wise QC said:  “A policy that mandates the recording of a ‘hate incident’ without there having to be any evidence of hate is quintessentially irrational and unreasonable as a matter of common law.”

And here lies the true heart of the issue. Feelings are trumping facts and delusion is trumping reality.

The definition of a hate incident and a hate crime used to require EVIDENCE that someone was targeted because of a protected characteristic, usually if something was said prior to, during or immediately after the incident that made reference to race, religion etc.

Now, all that needs to happen is you have an argument with your neighbour over the bins and just call the Police on them if you say it's because you are part of a minority. I was forced to record a S5 as a hate crime, because the victim said the unknown suspect was white with a shaved head, which he believes makes him a neo-Nazi and he believed the suspect targeted him because he thought he was gay, which he isn't... but even if he were, the suspect would have had no way of knowing and never did/said anything in regards to sexual orientation...

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9 hours ago, Reasonable Man said:

It’s not legislation, it’s guidance. 

It is terrible guidance.

9 hours ago, Reasonable Man said:

This is not about recording crimes, it’s about recording incidents. 

What may be disproportionate is not the classification of the incident but the response to it. If someone reports bad driving then it’s classified as a road related incident. Doesn’t mean cops will be reporting the other party for careless or dangerous driving without some evidence, or even speaking to the ‘offending’ driver.  If someone reports being victimised because of their protected characteristic then it’s a hate incident. Again there is no need to take any action in every case other than recording the incident and giving the reporting person appropriate advice. 

That incident is recorded as a record against the person which is wrong in every way. It seems, more and more, that "Free Speech" is no longer permitted.  It is not necessarily what is said, but the context and how it is said.

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10 hours ago, Zulu 22 said:

It is terrible guidance.

That incident is recorded as a record against the person which is wrong in every way. It seems, more and more, that "Free Speech" is no longer permitted.  It is not necessarily what is said, but the context and how it is said.

So how do you propose the police do their duty by recording incidents as reported to them without somehow classifying them and recording who and what is involved in line with the National Standard of Incident Recording (NSIR) and the Management of Police Information (MoPI) which is underpinned by Data Protection legislation? 

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3 hours ago, Reasonable Man said:

So how do you propose the police do their duty by recording incidents as reported to them without somehow classifying them and recording who and what is involved in line with the National Standard of Incident Recording (NSIR) and the Management of Police Information (MoPI) which is underpinned by Data Protection legislation? 

Why do you need to record details of the 'offender? Surely generic information (age,sex,race) would do the same job. Besides isnit not the victims details which are more important.

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16 hours ago, SD said:

Why do you need to record details of the 'offender? Surely generic information (age,sex,race) would do the same job. Besides isnit not the victims details which are more important.

There is no ‘offender’ for an incident. There are people involved and they could be variously described, but not ‘offender’, ‘suspect’ or ‘victim’.  If a Force is using such terminology on its incident systems I would be surprised and that should be addressed. I am sure such terms are used in freetext entries as lazy terminology that police staff and officers get used to using but that is a different issue. 

As for why should you record the details of those involved the best example would be one Mr Ian Huntley. Had is details been recorded and retained for the numerous incidents he was reported as being involved in, but not as an offender, then hopefully someone would have been alerted to a pattern or theme developing before things got serious. 

This case was the catalyst for the creation of MoPI and the requirement to record police information in a structured way, applying the Data Quality Standards, so people’s data is recorded in an easily searchable and retrievable way and only retained for as long as is necessary. 

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16 minutes ago, Reasonable Man said:

There is no ‘offender’ for an incident. There are people involved and they could be variously described, but not ‘offender’, ‘suspect’ or ‘victim’.  If a Force is using such terminology on its incident systems I would be surprised and that should be addressed. I am sure such terms are used in freetext entries as lazy terminology that police staff and officers get used to using but that is a different issue. 

As for why should you record the details of those involved the best example would be one Mr Ian Huntley. Had is details been recorded and retained for the numerous incidents he was reported as being involved in, but not as an offender, then hopefully someone would have been alerted to a pattern or theme developing before things got serious. 

This case was the catalyst for the creation of MoPI and the requirement to record police information in a structured way, applying the Data Quality Standards, so people’s data is recorded in an easily searchable and retrievable way and only retained for as long as is necessary. 

I used 'offender' in quotes exactly because there is no offender but there is a perceived victim therefore the person who did the act needs to be called something.

As for your Ian Huntley example it's utterly nonsense. I'm fully aware of MOPI, I teach it and it wasn't hate incidents he was accused of but actual crimes.  Hate incidents are recorded purely for statistics and to plot trends. No specific person details are needed, so we shouldn't record them. You're conflating crime investigation with statistical recording.

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2 hours ago, SD said:

I used 'offender' in quotes exactly because there is no offender but there is a perceived victim therefore the person who did the act needs to be called something.

As for your Ian Huntley example it's utterly nonsense. I'm fully aware of MOPI, I teach it and it wasn't hate incidents he was accused of but actual crimes.  Hate incidents are recorded purely for statistics and to plot trends. No specific person details are needed, so we shouldn't record them. You're conflating crime investigation with statistical recording.

If you teach MoPI it in full then you will know that police information has to be recorded in structured records in compliance with other guidance E.g. crimes under the HOCR and incidents under NSIR. Linked to those are POLE records and person records must be recorded and linked to events (e.g. crimes and incidents). 

A hate incident is no different from any other incident. To say it is just a statistical record is like saying a road related incident or a domestic issue incident or an ASB incident is just recorded for statistical purposes so the police shouldn’t record and link any person details to those either. They don’t amount to crimes so there are no victims or offenders either. 

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In the original High Court judgement Mr Justice Julian Knowles said: “The effect of the police turning up at (Mr Miller’s) place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated.

“To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom.

“In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.”

I do not think there has been a better statement. It is one of the reasons that the General Public are losing respect over present day Policing.  It is depressing when a persons thoughts and opinions are being recorded as a hate crime.  In the present day "Woke" society anything that is said is considered a hate crime. I often disagree with Reasonableman but that is not a hate incident, it is just a different opinion.

 

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16 hours ago, Reasonable Man said:

If you teach MoPI it in full then you will know that police information has to be recorded in structured records in compliance with other guidance E.g. crimes under the HOCR and incidents under NSIR. Linked to those are POLE records and person records must be recorded and linked to events (e.g. crimes and incidents). 

A hate incident is no different from any other incident. To say it is just a statistical record is like saying a road related incident or a domestic issue incident or an ASB incident is just recorded for statistical purposes so the police shouldn’t record and link any person details to those either. They don’t amount to crimes so there are no victims or offenders either. 

Perhaps you should take your head of of the policies and go back to the start. What is the statement of purpose for HOCR?

It's all too with statistical analysis. So where there is no crime, there is no need for the persons details to be recorded. Its also not legislation so can be deviated from anyway. What legitimate aim is there for recording a person's personal details as an 'offender' when they've committed no crime and there would be no need for referral like there would form non crime DV or ASB.

Screenshot_20210313-123421_Word.jpg

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20 hours ago, SD said:

Perhaps you should take your head of of the policies and go back to the start. What is the statement of purpose for HOCR?

It's all too with statistical analysis. So where there is no crime, there is no need for the persons details to be recorded. Its also not legislation so can be deviated from anyway. What legitimate aim is there for recording a person's personal details as an 'offender' when they've committed no crime and there would be no need for referral like there would form non crime DV or ASB.

Screenshot_20210313-123421_Word.jpg

You are confused, yet partly agreeing with me. 

I am saying there is no crime - do no need to refer to HOCR. This is about INCIDENTS. In incidents there are no ‘offenders’ or ‘victims’, albeit a person may feel victimised. 

Incidents still must be recorded as police information > MoPI kicks in > person records must be created and linked. 

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