Manchester police chief says investigating offensive speech is a ‘waste of time’

One of Britain’s most experienced police chiefs said police were “wasting time” investigating if people were offended days after a former military veteran who posted a meme on Facebook was arrested at his home by police. I have,” he said.

Stephen Watson of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said. The Times of London On Monday, officers got involved in “things that aren’t police affairs,” undermining confidence in the military.

Mick Neville, former Chief Detective of New Scotland Yard, told the Epoch Times:

Watson, one of the UK’s largest police forces, said it was a “waste of time” to document non-criminal hate incidents (NCHI). July 26th, he wrote His back-to-basics approach to getting Bobby on the beat made GMP “the most improved force in the country.”

NCHI includes offensive or insulting comments online, in person, or in writing. It has been used by British police when officers are unsure whether a reported incident constitutes a crime.

On July 28, police were notified with new guidance that NCHI should not be recorded if it is trivial or unreasonable.

Epoch Times photo
Police are seen outside the stadium ahead of the FA Youth Cup final between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, 11 May 2022. (Naomi Baker/Getty)・Images)

“There are really first-rate examples of this being completely wrong in certain circumstances,” Watson told The Times of London.

“We got involved in things that weren’t police matters, wasted time as a result, and frankly made people question whether they knew what we were doing,” he said. Told. .

Watson’s comments came after Hampshire police filmed a former soldier arrested at his home for posting a meme on Facebook last week by actor and political activist Lawrence Fox and former police officer Harry Miller.

Hampshire Police Commissioner Donna Jones later criticized her unit for the arrest, saying she was “concerned about both the balance and the necessity of the police response to this incident”.

Fiona Pilkington

Watson said there are still times when documenting hate cases helps, and referred to the case of Fiona Pilkington.

Pilkington killed his disabled daughter Francesca by suicide on October 23, 2007, after an ongoing campaign of harassment and bullying from young people. report found Police contacted the family 33 times.

“There are shades of gray in areas where you need to know what’s going on so you can address potentially serious consequences,” Watson said.

“But I think it’s out of balance. And I think it’s about interpreting some rules to mean that if someone is offended at any given time for whatever reason, it has to be done for whatever reason.” I think we’re getting too zealous about police records,” Watson added.

on Twitter Sarah Phillimore, a family law attorney who is part of Miller and Fox’s Bad Law Project, stands up to address what they call “a culture of coercion and domination that is rapidly replacing our legal system.” Raised, Watson was critical of Pilkington’s upbringing.

“Relying on Fiona Pilkington as an excuse for why police record ‘non-criminal’ based on someone’s perception of ‘hate’ is a grave insult to all victims of police inaction,” she said. wrote.

Neville, the former Chief Detective of New Scotland Yard, told The Epoch Times that Watson’s words were fresh and hoped officers like him and senior professional police adviser Andy Cook could “turn things around”. However, he said the Home Ministry should intervene.

politically correct ideology

Cook, who took on the role of Senior Specialized Police Advisor last month, told the Times of London In May, quoting a phrase coined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984, he said, “We are not the Thought Police.

However, Neville pointed out the following article: sun newspaper They found that 7 out of 10 Metropolitan Police officers failed to make an arrest at least once a year.

“And what you have is a ridiculous situation where people’s cars, vans and bikes get stolen and they’re just ‘little problems’. But if it’s full of your tools, Or if it’s how to go to school, or how to get to college, or how to get work done, it’s no small matter.

Neville said these are important issues for people, but he’s aware that the police focus on what’s “politically correct”.

“We live in a world of free speech, and these people who claim to be tolerant are becoming the most intolerant of all. They are not completely tolerant of anyone, and the most frightening thing is that the police are on their side,” he added.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Greater Manchester Police for comment.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering stories from a wide variety of countries.