Awareness courses designed to assuage people from posting online hate have been scrapped by a police chief in Hampshire following a backlash.
The news comes after a military veteran was arrested after he retweeted a controversial post of the Progress Pride flag laid out like a swastika.
A hate crime awareness course that offered offenders a two-hour learning session to avoid prosecution has been scrapped by Hampshire Constabulary’s commissioner.
The post in question was originally shared by legacy-ruining actor turned ‘anti-woke’ vigilante and failed politician Laurence Fox.
The controversial right-wing figure shared the offensive graphic during Pride month and just days after a shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Oslo, Norway killed two people and injured 20 others.
Fox, who in May was forced to pay more than £36,000 in legal fees to three people he referred to as ‘paedophiles’ on Twitter, was briefly suspended from the social platform for sharing the flag in that context and violating Twitter’s terms of service, but was back online like nothing happened soon after.
Last week, a 51-year-old army veteran was arrested for sharing the meme and (surprise!) Fox was on hand to video the whole arrest and spread it on social media. What a funny coincidence…
He was told by police he could avoid prosecution if he took part in the session before they had conducted any investigation. He was subsequently released with no further action.
A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary later said: “We can confirm that officers explained that the hate-crime awareness course would be offered as an alternative to prosecution, in the event that the alleged offence was admitted.”
This clearly had the desired effect far-right folk were reaching for as new Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, revealed she has scrapped the awareness courses which, by taking part, meant that people could escape prosecution.
Jones said she wants the ‘restorative justice solutions “used in the right way”‘.
Jones also said in a recent interview: “I inherited a restorative justice contract when I was elected into office last year and the restorative hate-crime awareness course was part of that. I have decided that this hate-crime awareness course will no longer be offered in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by way of a community resolution option. The change needs to be planned properly but will take place in the coming weeks.
She continued, clearly attempting to clarify that it won’t be free rein for hate-crimes: “I want to be clear that when someone has been targeted and suffered violence or abuse because of their protected characteristics, and the incident reaches the evidential threshold for a hate crime, perpetrators can expect police action. This is vital.”
Previously, people accused of racism, sexism, misogyny and transphobia in Hampshire would have been offered a two-hour educational session instead of prosecution, but the course has now been scrapped following concerns that it was being used in order to challenge a person’s legitimately held political beliefs.
Obviously this is steeped anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric with the post making out that the queer community striving for their own basic human rights was somehow akin to being a Nazi.
The furore created just feeds into the ever growing ‘anti-woke’ brigade who haven’t really grasped the concept that being ‘woke’ is actually about respect and not about rolling your eyes whenever you see a person of colour or queer couple in an advert.
Meanwhile the BBC reports that reports of anti-LGBT hate crimes have risen by more than 50% in the West of England alone in the past two years, revealing a total increase from 712 reported incidents in 2019, to 1,109 in 2021.
The figures were released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request into Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire police forces.
As anti-LGBTQ+, particularly anti-trans, rhetoric online remains rife, the inevitable spill over to in-person hostility saw a sharp increase in hate crimes across the UK in 2021, prompting cities like Liverpool to stage protests demanding action.
See Fox’s video of the arrest below if you can stomach his braying voice, giving us his best ‘outraged acting’.
🚨 EXCLUSIVE – The inside story behind the shameful arrest of army veteran Darren Brady.
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