Scotland’s New Hate Crime Law Has ‘Backfired’

Law enforcement offices in Scotland report being overwhelmed with more than 8,000 crime reports since the new “hate crime” statute went into effect. The new law criminalizes speech, music, drama presentations, literature, and actions that marginalized people groups may find offensive.

The Telegraph reported the number of crime reports the week following the rollout of the new law, which approximates the total number of crimes reported in the nation in the previous nine months.

New American reported that critics of the law argue the vague wording in the statute allows for assertions of criminal activity based on one’s perception and represents a severe infringement on freedom of speech.

Mocking the law’s absurdity, Mike Graham of the Independent Republic told TALK TV that Scottish officers are in “despair” and tasked with “the impossible.”

David Threadgold, a Scottish police union official, told the BBC that officers must now work extended schedules but “cannot cope” with the surge in crime reports.

“Officers have been brought back in to do overtime shifts, and the management of that is simply unsustainable,” he said.

Threadgold asserts that though Parliament may have developed the law with good intentions, it is already having a negative impact.

The “Hate Crime and Public Order Bill” forbids potentially offensive communications that reference one’s “disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, or transgender identity.”

Threadgold asserts the public has “weaponized the new law to pursue personal and political vendettas, and that messaging to the public urging them to report all possible instances of ‘hate,’ potentially anonymously, had backfired.”

According to the law’s profile page, government leaders drafted the law in response to recommendations from “Lord Bracadale’s independent review of hate crime.”

Parliament’s profile of the law noted that the statute “provides protections that are fit for the 21st century.”

Section 3 of the new law reads: “It is an offense for a person to behave in a threatening, abusive or insulting manner, or communicate threatening, abusive or insulting material to another person, with either the intention to stir up hatred against a group of persons based on the group being defined by reference to race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origins, or where it is a likely consequence that hatred will be stirred up against such a group.”