Home secretary Suella Braverman attacks police for encouraging trans people to report hate crimes
Home secretary Suella Braverman has criticised a police force for encouraging trans people to report hate crimes based on their gender identity.
On 10 October, Leicestershire Police’s Stay Safe Twitter account, which represents the force’s crime reduction and hate crime officers, posted in support of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The force produced a graphic featuring a stock photo of a trans woman, which read: “I get called by my previous male name on purpose, but that’s not who I am. It can be really hurtful, especially when just seen as a joke.”
Alongside the graphic, Leicestershire Police tweeted instructions to report hate crimes via the Stamp It Out campaign.
‘Politically correct campaigns’
But Braverman, who served as Attorney general for England and Wales before she was appointed as home secretary last month by Liz Truss, tweeted: “This week I have seen confusion amongst police forces about what constitutes a ‘hate crime’.
“The police need to enforce actual laws and fight actual crimes. Freedom of speech must be protected and a proportionate approach must be taken.
“The public need to have confidence in their police forces. This sort of thing undermines it.
“Senior police officers who allow this to happen can expect to have to explain to me why they’re spending vital resources on politically correct campaigns.”
But intentional deadnaming as presented in the force’s tweet can constitute an “actual crime”, despite Suella Braverman’s claims.
Any crime, including verbal abuse or online harassment, can be a hate crime if it demonstrates, or is motivated by, hostility towards the victim based on a protected characteristic like sexual orientation or gender identity.
‘Mockery at best, abuse at worst’
LGBTQ+ former hockey player Beth Fisher described Braverman’s comments as “transphobia, plain and simple”, adding: “Don’t be surprised when they come for the rest of us. We have been warned.”
Sports reported Adam Crafton added: “Two factual observations: the Home Secretary doesn’t know the law and has used her large online platform to expose a minority group to mockery at best and abuse at worst.”
Suella Braverman attacking the police for going after anti-LGBTQA+ hate crime. LGBTQA+ rights are not the only thing that matter in a democracy, but they’re a damn good indicator of the moral compass of a government. This lot are cruel and ignorant. https://t.co/nszpNGBAfU
— Tom Coates (@tomcoates) October 17, 2022
I hate to point this out to the former Attorney General and now Home Secretary, but hate crime is an actual crime.
Being LGBT+ is a protected characteristic in UK law and this sort of bating and transphobia will only increase hate crime.
She should be ashamed of herself. https://t.co/5xqZ6AHP0w
— Andy Fitchet (@AndyFitchet) October 16, 2022
Interesting from our Home Secretary. So, if my boyfriend and I are walking down the street and get verbally abused, called faggots or told to die, then that’s okay? Is this not a crime in Britain today? Would be keen to have your thoughts on this @SuellaBraverman https://t.co/v12sSVPPqe
— Tommy ?️? (@tommygilchrist) October 16, 2022
Following Suella Braverman’s attack, Leicestershire Police deleted its tweet, and released a statement in which temporary chief constable Rob Nixon said: “Over the past week, a number of social media posts were issued on our Leicestershire Police Stay Safe account aiming to raise awareness of hate crime. This was as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
“While we recognise that people have strong and often conflicting views regarding this issue, we should not forget the seriousness of hate crime and the devastating crimes that as a country we have seen in the past which have happened as a result of hate crime.
“Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are. Hate crime law in England and Wales have developed in various phases over the past two decades and the law recognises five protected characteristics; race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”
‘Hate crime is an offence’
Nixon said he apologised for any “upset” caused by the force’s post, and added: “To clarify in relation to the posts, the images used were stock images obtained by the team. The source of those images had been considered to be reliable and the words on the posts were provided by an experienced police staff member who has significant knowledge of the different types of hate crime people can be and have been subjected to.
“Having examined the posts I believe we as a force should have made clear that the images were stock images and that the names given were fictitious for illustration purposes. For completeness, I am also having a scenario presented checked against current national hate crime recording policy.
“As a result, we have now removed the posts and will be reviewing how we use stock images and raise awareness of hate crime going forward.
“However, I do ask that people please remember the importance of the message which the posts related to – that hate crime is impactive and an offence and together we should be working to ‘Stamp it Out’.”
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