British police are being inundated with social media-fuelled hate crime claims, including a large rise in transgender complaints. Hate crimes motivated by transphobia have risen 56 percent in one year.
Statistics collected by the Home Office show that English and Welsh police forces had 4,355 of these incidents in the year to March – up from 2,799 in the previous 12 months. Hate crimes as a whole, including crimes motivated by hostility towards race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and transgender identity, rose 26 percent, reaching a record high of 155,841.
However, the Home Office commented that because of significant improvements in recording crime, it was unclear if the increase was a genuine rise, or because more victims had the confidence to come forward. “Transgender issues have been heavily discussed on social media over the last year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes.”
Alison Lowe, the diversity and equality head of the APCC, the police and crime commissioners group, called these figures “shocking”, saying: “We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.”
Someone who has personal experience of “the full force of the law” in such matters is Caroline Farrow, a mother of five in a village in Surrey. Ms Farrow is married to Robin, an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism. For several years she has been a prominent voice in the British media on Catholicism, feminism and current affairs. (Editor’s note – Ms Farrow is also a MercatorNet contributor.)
On Monday, October 3, at 4.45pm Ms Farrow was preparing dinner for her family. A burly policeman knocked at the door and announced that she was to be arrested “for the offence of malicious communications and harassment”. Do you have a warrant? Asked Ms Farrow. Don’t need one, the policeman replied. “Basically, an allegation has been made that you are harassing someone because of the stuff that you’ve been posting online.”
The police barged in, frisked her, confiscated all her electronic devices, hauled her off to the police station, locked her up in a cell for three hours, and interviewed her for another two. She was released under investigation and returned home after midnight.
Ms Farrow’s alleged crime involves nothing more serious than a Twitter spat. Whatever the rights and wrongs of her online argy-bargy, it seems demented to treat a mother of five as a dangerous criminal. She claims – and she has lots of company in this – that local police are so busy chasing up so-called hate crime that they have no time to investigate burglary, car theft, vandalism, and drugs.
“I have suffered the most awful harassment and abuse for four years from trans rights activists and each time I have complained to the police they have done nothing to help me,” Ms Farrow told The Daily Mail. “And yet, those same activists are able to use the police as their own private militia. It’s ridiculous.”
Like many others, she is taking a very dim view of Britain’s increasingly woke constabulary. “The police are supposed to act without fear or favour. But I’m an easy target because I don’t subscribe to their LGBTQ agenda. I’m meant to be a protected minority too but they don’t give a toss about Christian views. On social media I have had the most vicious abuse for being a Catholic.”
The Express’s Home Affairs Editor, Michael Knowles, suggests that to keep police from being drawn into social media rows, Big Tech should create “mechanisms for vile abuse to be removed quickly. There must be a way of using technology to recognise racist abuse to remove it from their sites.”
Does that make any sense? Instead of the police chilling free speech with their heavy-handed tactics, social media companies will become censors.
It takes no imagination at all to guess who will be censored – not those making “vile” remarks, but those like Mrs Farrow making reasoned and/or religious comments on the protected woke issues.
To be arrested and have one’s house searched and equipment confiscated, in a Kafkaesque atmosphere of not knowing what crime one is supposed to have committed, all for complaints of hate crime that will not stand up in court, smacks of a totalitarian state intent on chilling legitimate debate about issues of serious public concern.
Amid public anxiety about the need for police to fight crime rather than spending time and effort stifling free speech and curbing civil liberties, the new Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has said “police must focus on catching criminals rather than intervening in online spats”.
Watch your language, Ms Braverman. You, too, could hear the dreaded 4.45pm knock on the door.