“Transphobic tweets” campaigner takes police harassment case to Court of Appeal

Harry Miller challenges College of Policing over its hate crime guidance following High Court victory against Humberside Police

18 February 2021 – Free speech campaigner Harry Miller is taking his battle against police harassment to the Court of Appeal, which will hear his case on 8th to 10th March.

In February 2020, Miller won a landmark ruling against Humberside Police in the High Court after the force recorded a “non-crime hate incident” (NCHI) against him for tweeting about transgender issues. In his judgement, Mr Justice Knowles said that Miller’s tweets were “not even in the foothills of harassment” and compared Humberside Police’s actions to the Cheka, Stasi and Gestapo.

Knowles however found in favour of the College of Policing, ruling that its Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG) was lawful. Miller is now appealing this element of the judgement on the basis that HCOG is not compatible with existing legislation, including the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Miller’s High Court battle shone a light on the secretive world of “thought policing” in the UK, in particular the practice of recording NCHIs. Under HCOG, the police are required to record every accusation as a hate incident without the need for investigation. Following the High Court judgement, journalists discovered that over 120,000 NCHIs had been recorded in just five years, yet could not identify a single crime that this had prevented.

Last summer the College of Police reviewed and amended HCOG. Fair Cop, the organisation founded by Miller and others concerned at the chilling effect exerted by the police on free speech, detailed the deficiencies of the new Guidance in November.

“The College of Policing is making up the rules as it goes along, with no regard for — and indeed, in defiance of — the law of the land,” said Harry Miller. “My challenge to the College is simple: respect the law, follow the law, and do not criminalise people for expressing their opinions within the law.

“The existing Guidance should appal anyone who cares about free speech,” continued Miller. “By defining ‘hatred’ to include dislike, resentment and unfriendliness, it makes criminals of a huge swathe of the population who engage in robust, lawful debate. And the public agrees. Although this action has cost me a significant sum of money, I have been supported by thousands of donations to the tune of

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