Woke police officers open ‘ hate incident’ file after boy, 11, is called ‘shorty’ and ‘leprechaun’

  • Officers in Wiltshire stepped in after the child was called names in the street
  • The boy, 11, was called ‘shorty’ and a ‘leprechaun’ in ‘non-hate crime incident’ 
  • It comes after the College of Policing has been forced to review its guidance over non-crime hate incidents following a landmark ruling in December last year 

Police opened a ‘hate incident’ file after a boy, aged 11, was called ‘shorty’. 

Officers in Wiltshire stepped in after the child, who was also called a ‘leprechaun’ was called names in the street in a ‘non-crime hate incident’. 

The latest example of police recording name-calling in such a way comes despite an Appeal Court ruling last December that the policy unlawfully interferes with the right to freedom of expression.

Wiltshire was named last year as the worst force in the country when it came to solving sex attacks, cracking just one in 140 rape cases. 

Cops in Wiltshire stepped in after the child, who was also called a ‘leprechaun’ was called names in the street in a ‘non-hate crime incident’ (stock image)

Non-crime hate incidents are defined as ‘any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice’, according to the College of Policing.

The category was introduced in 2014 after recommendations made by the independent Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Reports of non-crime hate incidents can show up in criminal record checks for six years, yet there are no grounds to appeal against them. 

Officers have to consider people’s human rights including the right to respect for private and family life, the right to manifest one’s religion or beliefs, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly and association in these cases. 

In December the Appeal Court ruled their use should be curtailed. 

The College of Policing is now working to come up with new ‘safeguards’ to make sure that any future recording of non-crime hate incidents does not disproportionately interfere with the legal right to speak their mind after a landmark ruling last year. 

This means non-crime hate incidents will still exist but the guidance around their use will be tightened. 

‘It beggars belief that one child calling another ‘shorty’ becomes a police matter,’ Josie Appleton, Director of freedom of speech group the Manifesto Club told The Sun. 

‘Recording ‘non-crimes’ takes the police into the dangerous territory of policing speech and everyday interactions.

‘The police created this dubious non-crime hate incident system on their own initiative, and have been told by the Court of Appeal and Home Secretary to scrap it. 

‘It’s high time they did.’

Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of the Freedom Association added: ‘Something is either a crime or it isn’t.

‘Non-crime hate incidents are a threat to free speech and should be consigned to the dustbin of history.’

He added that the decision to open a file could also have an impact on the accused future employment prospects as the report could show up in a criminal record check for the next six years. 

The accused has no right to appeal. 

Non-crime hate incident reports were introduced in 2014 following recommendations by the independent Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The College of Policing defines them as those ‘perceived by the victim or any others to be motivated by hostility or prejudice.’ 

Around 10,000 incidents are recorded on a yearly basis. 

The College of Policing has recently been forced to review its guidance over non-crime hate incidents following a landmark ruling in December last year. 

Harry Miller, a former officer at Humberside Police, won a Court of Appeal challenge over guidance on ‘hate incidents’ after claiming it unlawfully interferes with the right to freedom of expression.

Mr Miller was approached by colleagues over alleged transphobic tweets in January 2020.  The force recorded the complaint as a ‘non-crime hate incident . 

It is not known what was in the tweets, which were later deleted, though he is known to have retweeted a poem which included the line: ‘Your vagina goes nowhere’. 

Mr Miller, from Lincolnshire, challenged both Humberside Police’s actions and the College of Policing’s guidance at the High Court in 2020. A judge ruled the force’s actions were a ‘disproportionate interference’ with Mr Miller’s right to freedom of expression.

But his challenge to the College’s guidance was dismissed, with the judge finding that it ‘serves legitimate purposes and is not disproportionate’.

However, in a separate ruling, the Court of Appeal found the guidance also breached his freedom of expression rights, forcing the College of Policing to review its guidance to add in more safeguards for freedom of speech. 

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