During a debate for the leadership of the UK’s Conservative Party, Kemi Badenoch, who was the only online free speech candidate, vowed to stop the police from recording “non-crime hate incidents” – many of which have been recorded based on people’s tweets and other social media posts.
Badenoch’s bid to become leader ended today.
According to the Tory leader hopeful, the police should focus on things “the public really cares about.”
Badenoch said that police forces in England and Wales record tens of thousands of non-crime hate incidents annually. She vowed to take “whatever steps are necessary” to stop the “onerous burden” of “policing of people’s hurt feelings.”
In January 2019, former police officer Harry Miller got a visit from the Humberside Police after someone complained about him posting “transphobic” tweets. The complaint was recorded as a non-crime hate incident.
Miller legally challenged the record and the guidance on non-crime hate incidents provided by the College of Policing. In February 2020, a High Court Judge ruled that the Humberside Police recording of the incident was a “disproportionate interference” with freedom of speech. Last December, the Court of Appeal further ruled that the College of Policing’s guidance violated Miller’s freedom of expression.
“The public rightly expect the police to deal with criminals, not to intervene in Twitter spats. My Government will ensure police resources are always focused on fighting crime on our streets,” Badenoch said during the debate.
Badenoch further noted that while the College of Policing has revised its guidance, it has not stopped the recording of non-crime hate incidents.