Yousaf faces vote to repeal hate crime law amid warnings that police are swamped with complaints

Yousaf faces vote to repeal hate crime law amid warnings that police are swamped with complaints

WATCH: GB News presenter Leo Kearse on the new hate crime legilsation

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 15/04/2024

- 21:29

The shadow justice secretary has warned that complaints are taking a toll on Scotland’s police

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf is facing a vote to repeal his controversial hate crime laws.

It comes amid warnings from opposition MSPs in Holyrood that a deluge of complaints is placing a strain on Police Scotland.

A Scottish Tory motion will be tabled proposing that the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act be repealed, barely a fortnight after it came into force.

Shadow justice secretary in Holyrood Russell Findlay told The Telegraph the legislation was taking a toll on the country’s "overstretched" police.

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf\u200b

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf is facing more opposition to his hate crime law


The Tory MSP for West Scotland said: "Humza Yousaf’s disastrous hate crime law has caused utter chaos in the fortnight since its introduction.

"It is proving every bit as unworkable as many critics warned – and must be repealed. As well as being an unacceptable risk to free speech, it is taking a huge toll on Scotland’s police officers.

"They’re being deluged with thousands of complaints – many of them vexatious from individuals out to settle scores."

He called on Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs, and "the more sensible Nationalists" to "admit they made a huge mistake and back our call for its repeal."


\u200bRussell Findlay MSP

Russell Findlay MSP called the law "disastrous"


The motion, which is expected to be tabled in Holyrood on Wednesday, is unlikely to pass as the Tories were the only party to oppose the legislation during its passage at Holyrood in 2021.

However, the vote is expected to pile pressure on Yousaf and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar in particular to think again if some of their backbenchers rebel.

The law, first created in 2021, creates a criminal offence of "stirring up of hatred" expanding on a similar offence based on racist abuse that has been on the statute book for decades.

The recent legislation which came into place on April 1 extends this to other grounds on the basis of age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Hate Hurts posterThe new hate crime laws have proved controversial Getty

However, there have been concerns that the legislation’s definition of a hate crime is too ambiguous, and that it has triggered a torrent of vexatious complaints. Police Scotland pledged to investigate every one.

Sarwar last week said that the legislation should have included sex as a protected characteristic, and blamed the chaos since its introduction on woeful communication by ministers.

Police Scotland's first figures since the legislation was introduced showed that authorities received 7,152 online hate reports between April 1 and April 7.

However, in that first week, only 240 of those thousands of reports had been for actual hate crimes, alongside an additional 30 "non-crime hate incidents", according to a statement from Police Scotland.

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