The Daily Mail reported that UK police are currently wasting thousands of hours to deal with “hate incidents” which are not serious enough to even be classed as crimes. Moreover, one in 20 incidents reported to police was as a result of social media posts.
Some 11 236 such incidents were registered in 2015-16 new figures reveal, which means at least one incident every half hour. The incidents were recorded in 30 police forces across the whole country.
Even if officers spent just 15 minutes following up each one, it would mean 3 750 hours of police time wasted on what are essentially not crimes but hurt feelings.
“The reports included someone alleging racism when a man’s dog barked at them, a mother angry after her children fell out with others playing in the street and a man who claimed a tennis umpire had made racist line-calls against his daughter,” the Mail noted.
Some called the police because they were offended by newspaper cartoons. One woman in Wiltshire became upset because someone on Facebook said she resembled an unflattering TV cartoon.
So-called “race-hate incidents” reported in London alone included barking dogs, a student refused drinks in a bar and a bus driver who gave “a racist look”.
“A non-conforming-gender-specific lesbian in a wheelchair” called the police after an alleged “hate incident” when a man stood “intimidatingly” close to her.
Official figures show that four out of five robbers and burglars are never caught, while a hate incident must be recorded simply on the word of the alleged victim. Crucially the “hate incident” must be investigated by an officer either by a visit or making a phone call.
Britain is struggling with an epidemic of unpunished theft and knife violence. David Spencer of the Centre for Crime Prevention said it was “worrying that our police seem willing to prioritise these cases over real crimes”.
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman defended their policies: “By recording and reviewing reports of hate incidents, police forces play a vital role in helping prevent hate crime.
“Officers can often use these reports as an indication of where and when tensions could escalate into violence. Victims and those feeling vulnerable should report any incident of hate crime to the police.”