‘Non-Crime Hate Incidents’: Is the impartiality of the police undermined by identity politics?
David Green, 23 December 2021
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the definition of a ‘hate incident’ in police guidelines is unlawful. Moreover, the police practice of recording non-crime hate incidents was ‘plainly an interference with free speech’. These non-crimes are disclosed when employers make ‘enhanced’ checks on the suitability of individuals to work with young or vulnerable people.
The unlawful guidelines of the College of Policing were issued in 2014, and in the subsequent five years nearly 120,000 non-crime hate incidents were recorded. Why have the police pursued hate incidents that are not crimes with such enthusiasm, when by their own admission they were unable to cope with the volume of real crime?
The primary reason is that many officers have abandoned impartiality and joined one of the many sectarian associations that now litter the police service, each with their own self-serving agenda, which usually includes aggressive pursuit of hate crimes and non-crime hate incidents.
The police are not allowed to join a trade union and not permitted to go on strike. They can only join the Police Federation, a staff association that must confine itself to negotiating pay and conditions. The Metropolitan Police now has over twenty staff associations that meet under the banner of S.A.M.U.R.A.I. (Staff-support Associations Meeting Up Regularly and Interacting). The group includes the Metropolitan Black Police Association, the Muslim Police Association, the Chinese and South East Asian Staff Association, the Hindu Association, the Sikh Association, the UK Nigerian Police Association, the Metropolitan Police LGBT Network, the Greek and Cypriot Association, and the Metropolitan Police Polish Association.
Some associations have antagonistic political objectives. The National Black Police Association gave evidence to a House of Commons Committee on Diversity in Policing in April 2016 and reminded the Committee of the evidence that the Metropolitan Black Police Association had given to the Macpherson Inquiry in September 1999 when it claimed that police culture was ‘white’. When black people join the police they must conform to ‘the norms which predominantly are white’. The black person was expected ‘to become, if you like, a clone’.
No culture can be called white or black and race has nothing to do with culture. The essence of policing is impartiality, a fact still acknowledged by the College of Policing, which stipulates that the police ‘must show impartiality… by being unprejudiced, fair and objective’. In case of doubt it says that, in other words, ‘the police ‘must not allow personal feelings, beliefs or opinions to unfairly influence [their] actions in any situation’. The police should ‘consider different sides of a situation and ensure that each side is given equal consideration’, and no person or group ought to be favoured over another.
The Court of Appeal decision means that the College of Policing forgot its own guidelines when dealing with hate incidents. It’s not only that the actions of the police had a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech, the priority given to hate incidents also meant neglecting more serious crimes. Some senior officers have already voiced concerns. The prevailing atmosphere is such that speaking out is not a good career move, but nevertheless some courageous individuals have not been silenced. Sara Thornton, when head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said that investigating hate crime was distracting the police from their core tasks, such as tackling violence and burglary. Donna Jones, the lead on serious and organised crime for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said in 2021 that the doubling of hate crime reflected police activity rather than real events. She thought the police should focus on crimes that caused the greatest harm.
At the core of police sectarianism is the Police Association Strategic Leaders (PASL) group. It was formed in 2016 with the Police Federation and ‘the blessing of the Home Office … to bring together the full spectrum of police faith, race, disability, sexuality and gender groups to share their unique perspectives and work collectively’. It has 14 members including the National Black Police Association; the National Association of Muslim Police; the National LGBT+ Police Network; the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association, and the Police Pagan Association.
These groups seek to change policing policy sometimes to the advantage of their own identity group. In particular they call for identity-based quotas in recruitment and promotions; and the encouragement of hate crime reporting. If five per cent of the population is black then five per cent of sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors, superintendents, etc, should be black. If not, so the argument goes, it must be because of racial discrimination.
As a result, the police are increasingly being encouraged to define themselves, not as people who deserve respect because of their ability and objectivity, but as members of an identity group, and especially their race. The doctrine is so deeply entrenched that, in the name of diversity, pagans in the police have been given time off to celebrate pagan festivals. The Home Office said the decision had been made because ‘The Government wants a police service that reflects the diverse communities it serves.’
These divisive doctrines derive from a common source – American critical race theory, which views society as divided into victim groups and their oppressors.
What should be done? The Government should stop funding identity groups and use the funds saved to reduce crime. Official recognition should be denied to all identity groups. The Government should reject the claim that the police should represent the racial, religious and other identities that have succeeded in gaining political recognition. The police are not there to represent anyone. Their job is to uphold the law. The primary test of the fitness of an individual police officer to wear the uniform is the ability to be impartial. The police should not recruit according to race, or promote individuals to reflect identity groups. Merit and personal integrity should be the primary criteria.
More generally, the Government should challenge claims that our race determines our ideas and our ability to be fair. We all share a common humanity. Fair treatment is owed to all regardless of race. To that end it should scrap all divisive equality, diversity and inclusion training, and especially unconscious bias training.
David Green is the author of ‘Is Identity Politics Undermining Police Impartiality?’ published this week by Civitas.