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Media coverage of Fair Cop and the Judicial Review

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Police forces record thousands of hate incidents each year even though they accept they are not crimes

06/01/2020

Police forces are recording thousands of hate incidents even though they accept that they are not crimes.

More than 87,000 ‘non-crime hate incidents’ have been recorded by 27 forces in England and Wales over the past five years, when the national policing body introduced its Hate Crime Operational Guidelines.

The guidelines state that an incident - perceived to be motivated by hostility towards religion, race or transgender identity - must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element” and can even show up on an individual’s DBS check, despite them not committing a crime.

The figures, obtained by the Daily Telegraph through Freedom of Information requests,...

The figures come after a judicial review was brought in the High Court against the National College of Policing for its hate crime guidelines by Harry Miller, a former police officer. The married father of four was investigated by a “community cohesion officer” from Humberside Police following a complaint that he had written something transphobic on Twitter.

 

Mr Justice Julian Knowles, the presiding judge in the case, expressed surprise at the college's rule that there does not need to be any evidence of hate for the incident to be recorded. “How can it be a hate incident if there is no evidence of the hate element?" he asked lawyers at a November hearing.

 

In legal documents, lawyers representing the college argued that “the role of British police today goes beyond bringing offenders to justice when they commit crimes". The decision on Mr Miller's judicial review against the college is expected this month.

 

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation, said: “It is right that we must prioritise those crimes in action such as emergencies, violence and burglaries. However for some people, these so-called low-level incidents, not considered to be crimes, can feel like bullying and harassment and can have a very negative impact on them.” 

Read article: Police forces record thousands of hate incidents each year even though they accept they are not crimes

Comedy in the era of Twitter outrage: An interview with Ricky Gervais

20/12/2019

[Ricky Gervais] considers ‘hate speech’ to be the invention of those who ‘feel they shouldn’t have to hear something they don’t agree with, and want to complain. They can call the police because someone’s wearing a T-shirt they don’t like. This is actually happening.’

By way of illustration he mentions the recent case of Harry Miller, the ex-policeman who was investigated by Humberside police for retweeting a poem deemed to be transphobic. Miller is currently challenging the police investigation in court. ‘The judge reminded the court that freedom of speech outweighs the right never to hear something you don’t like.’

Read article: Comedy in the era of Twitter outrage: An interview with Ricky Gervais

In Britain, saying sex is immutable can be a sackable offence

20/12/2019

A tribunal upholds the firing of an employee who had tweeted that men cannot become women

Fair Cop, a pressure-group set up by Mr Miller and others concerned about the way police deal with so-called “non-crime hate incidents” and especially statements deemed to be transphobic, expressed outrage at the ruling in Ms Forstater’s case. It went on: “Shocking as this judgment is, we welcome the fact that it unmasks the true demands of the trans-rights movement: that everybody in society must either believe in the falsehood that humans can change sex; or, at the very least, self-censor so that they appear to believe in it.

Read article: In Britain, saying sex is immutable can be a sackable offence

Defining women

04/12/2019

‘The wording of anti-trans hate-crime guidance is so vague, and so reliant on subjective interpretation, that it could be open to misuse by politically-motivated actors’

Criminals are on the march in Oxford. The details are unclear because the content of the supposedly offensive stickers are not “suitable for sharing”, according to Thames Valley Police. Some of them are known to feature a now-controversial dictionary entry: “Woman. Noun. Adult human female.” Also featured on billboards and T-shirts produced by gender-critical feminists, this common-sense statement is a transphobic dog whistle to the ever-alert trans activists.

Read article: Defining women

Must we all live in fear of a visit from the actual thought police?

24/11/2019

A year or so ago, a friend insisted we move from Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp for our communications. The former was too easily hackable, she said, and she was worried that any off-colour comments – or indeed jokes – we might make about politics, life or individuals could end up being released to the world. I hate WhatsApp, but – suddenly feeling uneasy – I acquiesced.

At the time, I thought she was being paranoid. Now it has become abundantly clear that one cannot be too careful. 

Read article: Must we all live in fear of a visit from the actual thought police?

Putting the thoughtpolice on trial

22/11/2019

Previously unaware that Kafka and Orwell had written training manuals for police officers, Miller decided to bring a court case against the College of Policing, whose Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG), issued in 2014, forms the basis of current practice. As Miller has argued at the High Court this week, ‘the idea that a law-abiding citizen can have their name recorded against a hate incident on a crime report when there was neither hate nor crime undermines principles of justice, free expression, democracy and common sense’.

Read article: Putting the thoughtpolice on trial

Why are the police at war with free speech?

21/11/2019

"To make good decisions, a society must have healthy discussions even if it is offensive to some people"

Perhaps it would simplify things if the 999 dialling service was amended. From now on it might say: “Press ‘1’ for ambulance, 2 for police, 3 for fire-service and 4 for thought-police.” Although given current priorities, perhaps the thought-police option should be offered first.

The thought is prompted by the case of Harry Miller, heard at the High Court this week. Mr Miller is a former police officer who was contacted by Humberside Police in January after a complaint that a number of tweets he had published were “transphobic”.

Read article: Why are the police at war with free speech?

Right to be offended does not exist says judge as High Court hears police are recording 'hate incidents' even if there is no evidence for them

21/11/2019

Judge hit out at police forces for recording 'hate incidents' despite no evidence


Mr Justice Julian Knowles told court said guidance on issue 'did not make sense'


Rules state comment reported as hateful by a victim must always be recorded


Comes as former PC Harry Miller was investigated over 'transphobic limerick'

Read article: Right to be offended does not exist says judge as High Court hears police are recording 'hate incidents' even if there is no evidence for them

Policeman’s anti-trans views can’t be hate speech because they form ‘legitimate public debate’, court told

21/11/2019

Official police guidance on recording incidents of “non-crime” hate speech against trans people is “contrary to freedom of expression”, an English court heard yesterday.

In January, Humberside law enforcement reached out to former police officer Harry Miller following a complaint over alleged anti-trans tweets.

Read article: Policeman’s anti-trans views can’t be hate speech because they form ‘legitimate public debate’, court told

Free speech ‘is being curbed by police guides on hate incidents’

21/11/2019

HOW police record ‘hate incidents’ against transgender people has a ‘real and substantial chilling effect’ on people’s freedom of speech, the High Court heard yesterday.

Former officer Harry Miller was contacted by Humberside Police after a member of the public complained he had posted ‘transphobic’ tweets.

He was told he hadn’t committed a crime but his post was being recorded as a ‘hate incident’, in line with guidance from the College of Policing.

Read article: Free speech ‘is being curbed by police guides on hate incidents’

'Right to be offended' does not exist, judge says as court hears police record hate incidents even if there is no evidence

21/11/2019

The “right to be offended” does not exist, a judge has said, as the High Court hears that British police forces are recording hate incidents even if there is no evidence that they took place. 

Mr Justice Knowles made the remark on the first day of a landmark legal challenge against guidelines issued to police forces across the country on how to record "non-crime hate incidents". 

The College of Policing, the professional body which delivers training for all officers in England and Wales, issued their Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG) in 2014, which states that a comment reported as hateful by a victim must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”.

Mr Justice Knowles expressed surprise at the rule, asking the court: “That doesn’t make sense to me. How can it be a hate incident if there is no evidence of the hate element?”

He added: “We live in a pluralistic society where none of us have a right to be offended by something that they hear.

Read article: 'Right to be offended' does not exist, judge says as court hears police record hate incidents even if there is no evidence

The police must rethink its Orwellian obsession with 'transphobia'

21/11/2019

"Police officers cannot take it upon themselves to act as the custodians of proper opinion"

If there is an event that captures the lunacies of modern life, it is a hearing currently taking place in the High Court in London. The case concerns a complaint about allegedly “transphobic” remarks and the police response. Harry Miller, himself a former police officer, tweeted comments about gender that a member of the public reported to Humberside constabulary.

Read article: The police must rethink its Orwellian obsession with 'transphobia'

Transgender tweet case: Officer Harry Miller says he was visited by ‘thought police’

21/11/2019

Officers who record social media comments as hate incidents are unlawfully acting as “thought police” curbing freedom of expression, a former constable has claimed in a landmark legal case.

Harry Miller, a former constable with Humberside police, was visited by an officer from the force after posting a verse about transgender people on Twitter. In evidence to the High Court yesterday, he said that the officer, PC Mansoor Gul, told him: “I’m here to check your thinking.” Mr Miller, 54, said he was told he had not committed a crime but that his tweeting was being recorded as a “hate incident” under the College of Policing’s guidance and that his social media account would be monitored.

Read article: Transgender tweet case: Officer Harry Miller says he was visited by ‘thought police’

Harry Miller on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

20/11/2019

Listen here, starting at 2 hours 52 minutes 30 seconds in. Only available till 18 December 2019

Fair Cop mentioned on the Nick Ferrari Show

20/11/2019

Unfortunately, not available online.

Harry Miller on Sky News

20/11/2019

Unfortunately, not available online.

Transphobia guidelines 'contrary to freedom of expression', court hears

20/11/2019

The way police record "non-crime hate incidents" against transgender people has "a chilling effect" on freedom of expression, the High Court has heard.

Former police officer Harry Miller was contacted by Humberside Police in January following a complaint about alleged transphobic tweets.

The court heard he was told he had not committed a crime, but his post was being recorded as a "hate incident".

He is taking action against the College of Policing and Humberside Police.

Mr Miller, from Lincolnshire, claims the guidelines breached his human rights to freedom of expression.

Read article: Transphobia guidelines 'contrary to freedom of expression', court hears

Police transgender rules breach right to free speech, court told

20/11/2019

Ex-officer Harry Miller taking legal action after being accused of hate incident

 

Harry Miller outside the high court in London. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Official police guidance on recording hate incidents against transgender people imposes a “substantial chilling effect” on freedom

Harry Miller, who served with Humberside police, was contacted by the force this year after a complaint from a member of the public about allegedly transphobic comments he made on his Twitter account @HarryTheOwl.

Another officer told Miller that he had not committed a crime but his tweeting was being recorded as a hate incident under the College of Policing’s guidelines on hate crime, the high court in London heard.

Read article: Police transgender rules breach right to free speech, court told

Social media posts referred to police could show up on DBS background checks despite not being a crime

19/11/2019

Social media posts referred to police but deemed as non-criminal could still show up on DBS background checks.

Forces across the country record ‘non-crime hate incidents’ on internal systems when the content is considered offensive by a victim “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”.

The incident could then show up on an enhanced DBS check carried out by an employer on a prospective employee, regardless of the fact that the individual has not committed a crime. 

Read article: Social media posts referred to police could show up on DBS background checks despite not being a crime

The policeman told me, "I need to check your thinking"'

18/11/2019

How a single ‘offensive’ tweet could potentially wreck your entire career

13/11/2019

A businessman quizzed by police over an alleged transphobic ‘hate incident’ has revealed the ‘non-crimes’ could now show up on DBS checks.​

 

Harry Miller, 54, was contacted back in January by an officer from Humberside Police following an anonymous complaint about some of his Twitter posts.​

 

The PC told him he’d identified around 30 potentially offensive tweets, in particular a limerick he’d shared questioning whether transgender women are biological women, and said he needed to ‘check his thinking’.​

Read article: How a single ‘offensive’ tweet could potentially wreck your entire career

NOTE: This article was deleted from the Metro's website on the same day it was published. No reason has been given.

Toby Young: The impact of Britain's foolish university drive is truly disturbing

10/11/2019

Free speech organisation Fair Cop recently reported that Humberside Police now include these "non-crimes" on people's records when they request an enhanced DBS check, potentially preventing them working as teachers or care assistants.

Read article: The impact of Britain's foolish university drive is truly disturbing

Stuart Waiton: Is 1984 now a police manual?

20/08/2019

As a criminologist, one of my main interests and concerns is with what is known as over-criminalisation – the overuse of laws and policing in modern society. One dimension of this over-criminalisation that often goes under the radar is the practices of the police themselves.

Read article: Stuart Waiton: Is 1984 now a police manual?

The Harry Miller Fair Cop Interview

20/08/2019

Harry Miller – known by many as “Harry the Owl” on Twitter @HarryTheOwl – has been through a lot. If you’re not up to speed on Harry and the limerick you can learn about Harry’s adventures with the “thought police” here. Country Squire Magazine decided it was time for an update and so one of the Squires interviewed Harry last week.

Read article: The Harry Miller Fair Cop Interview

‘Nineteen Eighty-Four is now a policing manual’

16/08/2019

In January, Harry Miller was investigated by the police for retweeting a limerick on Twitter. The police said the limerick – and 30 other tweets – constituted transphobic hate speech.

Miller is one of the thousands of ordinary people who have found themselves on the sharp end of the law in recent years simply for expressing their views. Social-media posts, usually intended as jokes or political arguments, are increasingly being criminalised if they convey the ‘wrong’ opinions about certain topics. Posts on trans issues are considered particularly toxic and are zealously investigated by police. Miller, alongside barristers, police officers and other victims of police overreach, have started the Fair Cop campaign to defend free speech. 

Read article: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four is now a policing manual’

High Court review for College of Policing guidance on hate crime

07/08/2019

Police guidance on “hate incidents” is to be challenged in the High Court by a former officer who tweeted an allegedly transphobic limerick.

The case will be heard in November after the man was given approval yesterday to make his challenge.

Harry Miller, who was a constable in the 1990s, says that guidance to forces in England and Wales from the College of Policing results in a “chilling of free speech”. He claims that officers from his old force, Humberside police, warned him that a reference in a tweet to Jenni Murray, the Woman’s Hour presenter, could be transphobic.

Read article: High Court review for College of Policing guidance on hate crime

Lincolnshire man challenges police transphobia guidelines

06/08/2019

A man interviewed by police over alleged transphobic tweets is challenging police guidance on hate incidents against transgender people.

Harry Miller, from Caistor in Lincolnshire, was contacted by Humberside Police over a limerick he re-tweeted.

 

He is now seeking a judicial review of the College of Policing (CoP) guidelines at the High Court.

Read article: Lincolnshire man challenges police transphobia guidelines

'Limerick Criminal' takes legal action against police over 'transphobic' tweet

13/05/2019

Harry Miller, the self-styled 'Limerick Criminal,' was contacted by police after he retweeted a limerick about transgender people on Twitter. Now, he's taking legal action against the police. Whose side are you on?

Police are criminalising opinions, say campaigners

11/05/2019

People warned by the police over comments they made about transgender issues are launching a pressure group and legal action next week, challenging “Big Brother interference” with their free speech rights.

The Fair Cop campaign is headed by Harry Miller, 54, from Lincolnshire, who was visited at work in January by Humberside police for retweeting a limerick that said trans women had silicone breasts. The force admitted there was no crime, but described it as a “hate incident” and said it would be monitoring Miller’s and his wife’s social media accounts.

 

Read article: Police are criminalising opinions, say campaigners

Businessman, 54, investigated by police over Twitter poem about transgender people launches a landmark High Court battle to overhaul official rules on hate crimes

15/05/2019

A businessman investigated by police over a poem about transgenderism is launching a landmark High Court case to overhaul the official rules on hate crimes.

Harry Miller is to seek a ‘judicial review’ of the hate crime guidelines followed by police forces across Britain, claiming they are ‘unlawful’ because they ‘inhibit freedom of expression’.

Read article: Businessman, 54, investigated by police over Twitter poem about transgender people launches a landmark High Court battle to overhaul official rules on hate crimes

 

Tweet investigation man sets up 'freedom of speech' group

14/05/2019

A man from Lincolnshire has set up a campaign group which he says is aimed at protecting freedom of speech.

Harry Miller was spoken to by Humberside Police after he re-tweeted a poem about transgender women which some people found offensive.

Mr Miller, who is a former police officer, was not arrested or charged with anything - and has complained that his freedom of expression was being supressed.

At the time, he said he was "utterly shocked" to be questioned by a police constable. 

"This is not about being anti-trans. This is all about telling the police to respect the law. The European Convention of Human Rights says we are able to engage in lawful political discussion without any interference whatsoever. And yet, the police have sought to shut me up and shut me down." Harry Miller

 

New UK lobby group calls for change to police rules over trans comments

13/05/2019

A comedian and a former policeman reprimanded by the police for making public comments on transgender issues have backed a new lobby group set up to push for police guidelines to be changed.

Fair Cop, launched this week, argued that British police are misusing hate crime laws to "harass" those who question whether trans women should be able to identify as women and access female-only spaces, by saying any complaints had to be recorded.

 

Read article: New UK lobby group calls for change to police rules over trans comments

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