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UK College of Policing continues to threaten free speech

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The College of Policing, a UK taxpayer-funded organization that advises police forces in England and Wales, has been accused of watering down Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s free speech charter.

Last month, the Home Office published its first Non-Crime Hate Incidents (NCHIs) code of practice. Braverman had previously expressed concerns that police were “wrongly getting involved in lawful debate in this country.”

Between 2014 and 2019, about 120,000 people had NCHIs recorded against them, including minors.

These records show up in background checks for certain jobs, like teaching.

The College of Policing updated its own NCHIs recording manual, called the “authorized professional practice” (APP), which officers in England and Wales will refer to on a daily basis.

The College of Policing’s draft APP has been criticized as “Orwellian” and has a “woke spin,” The Telegraph reported.

The College of Policing’s new draft guidance has eight scenarios, which are different from those in the Home Office’s code, and only 12.5% of those scenarios advise officers not to record an NCHI.

Seven of eight of the scenarios in the new guidance were in the old guidance, which was found unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal because it had a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

Founder of Fair Cop, a group that monitors political correctness by the police, Harry Miller, a former police officer who sued Humberside Police after they recorded an NCIH against him for a “transphobic” tweet, said the college’s new guidance is overly political.

“The police will not be schooled in the Home Office guidance once the APP comes out, they will be schooled in the guidance given by the College of Policing, which will mean we are exactly where we were before,” Miller told The Telegraph.

“The College of Policing has taken an overtly political stance. The Home Office’s examples were all very sensible and corrected the previous mistakes, but they will once again be shelved for the approved ideology of the College of Policing.”

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