“Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
That is the seventh Peelian Principle of Policing. The police in the UK police by consent. They must treat every citizen equally. No section of society should have greater rights because of their ethnicity or the political views they espouse. Equally, the police must not display prejudice against anyone because of their ethnicity or political views. Everyone should be dealt with equally under the law, irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. But is that the reality?
The way the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have formulated definitions of hate incidents is worrying. The following is from the Citizens Advice Bureau website:
“They [the police and CPS] say something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one of the following things: disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation.
“This means that if you believe something is a hate incident it should be recorded as such by the person you are reporting it to. All police forces record hate incidents based on these five personal characteristics.
“Anyone can be the victim of a hate incident. For example, you may have been targeted because someone thought you were gay even though you’re not, or because you have a disabled child.”
If someone feels that a remark was motivated by hate, even if it was directed at someone else, the police must record it as a hate incident. This is what happened to Harry Miller, although he fought back.
Mr Miller, a former police officer, was visited by officers from Humberside Police after some offended jobsworth complained about his tweets poking fun at transgenderism. He was told that he had not committed a crime, but it would be recorded as a non-crime “hate incident”.
Mr Miller took his case to court, and the judge found in his favour. The judge said that the effect of police officers turning up at Mr Miller’s place of work “because of his political opinions must not be underestimated”. He went on to say that “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.”
As much as I am pleased that the judge ruled in Mr Miller’s favour, I think he needs to understand that we do have thought police in this country, and many people think that we are living in an Orwellian society.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has swept across the world. Whilst the statement that black lives matter is something we can all get behind (I cannot imagine anyone saying that black lives do not matter), the movement espouses dangerous Marxist policies. It wants an end to the nuclear family, to abolish police forces, and to destroy capitalism. They are hardly a bunch of moderate racial equality campaigners. They have a much more sinister agenda.
The response from the police to BLM has been disappointing. Watching officers running away from protesters in London was unedifying to say the least. But when it comes to anyone making alleged speech crimes, the police jump on them.
Posters with “It’s okay to be white” were found displayed in a window in Nailsea, Somerset. Cue outrage. Superintendent Andy Bennett of Avon and Somerset Police said that the force took “any reported hate crime with the utmost seriousness”. “It is inexplicable and unacceptable,” he said. “We are a vibrant, multicultural and diverse community. There is no space for hate in Avon and Somerset.”
I know the slogan has been used by white supremacists in the United States, but no-one can seriously say that “it’s okay to be white” is racist. If a poster had been displayed saying “it’s okay to be black”, would anyone bat an eyelid? It could have easily been placed by someone who felt that they were being victimised. Apparently, those of us who are white have “white privilege”. Try telling that to white working class children growing up on sink estates. Some privilege!
Police forces exist to fairly uphold the law; to arrest criminals and to keep us all safe. The police do not exist to be the arbiter of good taste; to regulate free speech and free expression.
All Chief Constables, including the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, should mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Peelian principles. Our model of policing by consent should be the best in the world. But the reality is different. That needs to change.