British police have classed a speech about immigration made by Home Secretary Amber Rudd as a “hate incident”.
The farcical turn of events came about after an Oxford University professor – who did not watch the speech being made – complained about the top politician’s words.
In the speech, made last October to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Rudd (pictured) set out measures to cut immigration, including tests to ensure migrants were not “taking jobs British people could do”.
Prof Joshua Silver, an astrophysicist, said he later read a draft version of the speech and in his opinion it discriminated against foreigners. He contacted West Midlands Police, whose officers recorded it under Home Office guidelines as a non-crime hate incident.
Even though there was no evidence of it being a hate crime, the police were forced to log the complaint in this way under recently introduced rules.
In Britain, a hate crime is now regarded as any incident that any individual believes is based on someone’s prejudice because of race, sex, religion, sexuality or disability – irrespective of evidence. The policy of logging all reported hate incidents was set out in 2014 by the College of Policing in its Hate Crime Operational Guidance – and, ironically, backed by Amber Rudd last year.
These guidelines state: “Where any person, including police personnel, reports a hate incident which would not be the primary responsibility of another agency, it must be recorded regardless of whether or not they are the victim, and irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element.”
Yesterday Prof Silver appeared on the BBC to defend his actions but was rounded on by senior Conservative politician Lord Howard, who said: “Of course it wasn’t a hate incident. Mr Silver should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. The meaning behind the legislation is very important. It’s meant to deal with hate crimes, and Mr Silver has been totally unable to justify what he’s done in the face of your questioning and is bringing that legislation into disrepute.”