A police chief in the UK has stood up to the ‘woke’ mob saying police officers are “wasting time” investigating people for posting memes that “offend” people online.
Stephen Watson of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) remarks come days after officers arrested a former veteran for posting a meme on Facebook after he offending some ‘woke’ liberals.
Watson told The Times that officers have become involved in “stuff which is just not a policing matter,” damaging public confidence in the force.
Former Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard Mick Neville said, “the facts are sometimes people are rude and nasty, but that isn’t the crime.”
Watson said recording non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs) have now become a “waste of time,” hindering the police from catching real criminals.
Last month, Watson wrote that his back-to-basics approach that putting police back on the street was making GMP the “most improved force in the country.”
NCHIs include comments online, in writing or in person that are deemed “offensive.”
The British police have used them if they are unsure whether a reported incident amounts to a crime.
In a new guidance form, police were told in July that NCHIs should not be recorded where they are trivial and irrational.
“In certain circumstances, there are actually first-class examples of where we’ve just completely got this wrong,” Watson told The Times of London.
Pandering to the ‘woke brigade’
“We’ve got ourselves involved in stuff which is just not a policing matter, we’ve wasted our time as a result, and we’ve caused people to question whether, frankly, we know what we’re doing,” he said.
The news comes after reports of a former soldier being arrested at his home for posting a meme on Facebook.
Hampshire Police Commissioner Donna Jones decried the arrest, saying she was “concerned about both the proportionality and necessity of the police’s response to this incident.”
Watson admitted there are still instances when recording hate incidents could help, referring to the Fiona Pilkington case.
In 2017, Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter Francesca after a sustained campaign of harassment from youths.
According to the report, police had interacted with the family times.
“There are shades of grey in the space where we do need to know what is happening so that we can combat a potentially grave outcome,” Watson said.
“I do think that the balance has got somewhere out of kilter, however, and I think we’ve become too assiduous at interpreting some of the rules to mean that if anybody at any time for whatever reason is offended, there somehow needs to be a police record,” added Watson.
Meanwhile, family law barrister Sarah Phillimore, part of Miller and Fox’s Bad Law Project, set up to deal with what they call “a culture of coercion and control that is fast replacing our legal system,” critised Watson bringing up Pilkington.
“For the police to rely on Fiona Pilkington as an excuse for why they now record ‘Non-Crime’ on the basis of someone’s perception about ‘hate’ is a gross insult to all victims of police inaction,” she wrote.
Former Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard Neville said Watson’s remarks were refreshing and were hopeful the police and people like senior professional police adviser Andy Cook can “turn it around,” but the Home Office should intervene.
Last month Police in Wales were told not to investigate people being offended by legitimate debate as hate crime.
As Wales Online reported:
New guidance from the College of Policing says people contributing to legitimate argument must not be investigated ‘simply because someone is offended’, reports The Times.
The report says police should ‘not get involved in debates on Twitter’. In the last five years police recorded 120,000 people who had been reported for offending someone. Even if the reports do not result in any action they can still show up on background checks for future employment.
Andy Marsh, the college’s chief executive officer, said: “While we work to protect the most vulnerable in society, we also have a responsibility to protect freedom of speech. This updated guidance puts in place new safeguards to ensure people are able to engage in lawful debate without police interference.
Cooke, who is the senior professional police adviser, said in May :
“We’re not the thought police, we follow legislation, and we follow the law, simple as that,” referencing George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” novel.
Neville, however, highlighted a report from The Sun, revealed that seven out of ten officers failed to make just one arrest in an entire year.
“And so what you have is this ridiculous situation where people’s cars get stolen, or their van or their bike, and they’re just ‘minor issues.’ But it’s not a minor issue when it’s full of your tools, or that’s the way you get to school or get to college or get your work done,” said Neville.
Neville said police are finding themselves focused on what is “politically correct” instead of more important issues.
“We live in a world of free speech. And it’s just become that these people who claim they’re tolerant are the most intolerant people of all. They are completely intolerant to any other views, and the most frightening thing is that the police are on their side,” he added.
The battle against the ‘woke’ agenda continues.