The Home Secretary criticises the recording of “non-crime hate incidents” and urges police to prioritise catching criminals instead of engaging in virtue signalling. New guidance advises officers to use common sense when dealing with online disputes and to avoid stifling freedom of speech. The Express has more.
The belief police are more interested in virtue signalling than catching criminals is “utterly corrosive” to people’s confidence, Suella Braverman warned last night.
The Home Secretary blasted the “Orwellian” recording of “non-crime hate incidents” – including those who defend a person’s biological sex.
She said forces must now focus on catching burglars, fraudsters and yobs ruining lives. Ms Braverman spoke as new guidance for police to use common sense when dealing with online spats came into force today.
Only comments posing “a real risk of significant harm” or that a future crime will be committed will now be noted by officers.
Ms Braverman told the Daily Express last night she would do all she could to “remove unnecessary burdens that keep the police from fighting crime”.
She said: “The recording of so-called ‘non-crime hate incidents’ has understandably struck lots of people as Orwellian and wrong.
“Victims of crimes like burglary, anti-social behaviour and fraud will rightly feel that the police should focus more on catching the perpetrators who have caused them misery, rather than wrongly getting involved in lawful debate.
“The perception, however unjustified or unrepresentative, that some police are more interested in virtue signalling than they are in protecting the rights of the law-abiding majority is utterly corrosive to public confidence in policing.”
The new guidance advises officers to look for a common sense reason not to record an incident if the complaint is trivial, irrational or malicious. And the fact someone is offended does not mean an online row should be recorded.
Police chiefs will also be told recording online spats or offensive letters or texts “should be done in a way that does not stifle freedom of speech or create a chilling effect that may inhibit an individual’s ability to engage in legitimate debate”.
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