‘Policing tweets instead of the streets!’ Ex-Met officer blasts SNP’s ‘intrusive’ hate crime bill

‘Policing tweets instead of the streets!’ Ex-Met officer blasts SNP’s ‘intrusive’ hate crime bill

'Policing tweets instead of the streets': Ex-Met Office blasts SNP's 'intrusive' hate crime bill

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 02/04/2024

- 16:31

Simon Harding is concerned about the extra 'pressure' the bill affords

Scotland’s new hate crime bill could prompt uneasiness amongst police officers, a former Met Police officer has suggested.

Speaking on GB News was Simon Harding, formerly a Senior Investigating Officer for the Met Police, and he raised concerns about extra ‘pressure’ being put on the police as a result.

“It’s putting a lot of pressure again on the police, isn’t it?”, he asked Martin Daubney.

“The police officers have got to make their own subjective test against what’s being said, especially with what JK Rowling has been talking about, misgendering.

Simon Harding and Humza Yousaf

Simon Harding is concerned about the new legislation


“We are talking about the ability to freedom of speech and people putting their opinion across about something.

“If that goes into our living rooms as well, around the dinner table, then that really is an intrusion that the police will feel incredibly uncomfortable about as well.


“We’ll also want to deal with other things which the public hold as their priorities, in Scotland especially, things like burglary.

“I think it is very confusing, but it is also very subjective to the officer dealing with it or the police force in an area.”

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf insists he is ‘very proud’ of the new hate crime laws which came into effect on Monday.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act consolidates existing hate crime legislation and has created a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics.

JK RowlingJK Rowling is among those to have criticised the billPA
Martin Daubney and Simon Harding

Martin Daubney was joined by ex-Met Police officer Simon Harding on GB News


It has raised questions over the police’s ability to deal with such crimes and fears were compounded when Police Scotland revealed more than a third of its officers are yet to complete an online training course in the new laws.

However Yousaf said Chief Constable Jo Farrell had “made it very clear the appropriate training is absolutely being provided”.

Harding argued the police have an ‘impossible’ task with the legislation extending to online posts.

“It’s an impossible task when you think of how many millions of tweets and messages and different forums we have on the internet, where people are going to put their opinion across”, he said.

“This is going to make it a huge area of confusion for everyone to understand. Do I need to investigate this? And what is I say, this one needs investigation but this one doesn’t?

“I think it’s going to be very, very confusing from now on.”

GB News’ Martin Daubney concurred with the sentiment, and added he is concerned that officers will be “policing tweets instead of policing the streets”.

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