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The SNP is turning Scotland into a police state

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Even before the Hate Crime and Public Disorder (Scotland) Act takes full effect on Monday – April Fool’s Day, appropriately – the Scottish police force is facing some difficult questions.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is threatening legal action over Police Scotland’s decision to include his name on a database of “non-crime hate incidents” (NCHIs) after a trans activist chose to take offence at one of Mr Fraser’s tweets. The police have already come under fire after it admitted that it will no longer investigate certain crimes, including some cases of theft and criminal damage. But when it comes to alleged “hate crimes”, they leave no stone unturned. 

In Mr Fraser’s case, they carried out an investigation but concluded that no crime had taken place and no charges were brought. But they still added him to their NCHI database and failed to inform Mr Fraser of the fact. He only found out after the same person who made the original allegation made a further complaint against him to the Holyrood standards authorities, citing his inclusion on the database as evidence against him.

It could hardly get more Kafkaesque: an original accusation is made, it is found to have no basis, but the accused is nonetheless listed on a police database, which prospective employers may, according to Disclosure Scotland, have access to during a recruitment process.

The implications are obvious and deadly serious: political activists can use police processes to smear law-abiding citizens, impeding their employment prospects for the “crime” of holding opinions with which they disagree.

Things can only get worse when the Hate Crime Act becomes enforceable on Monday. One can imagine that in basement bedrooms all over the country, activists will be anticipating with glee the movement of their clocks’ second hands towards midnight on Sunday, when they can press “send” on all those complaints they’ve been storing up for just this occasion. And if, as will be the case in the vast majority of cases, innocent civilians are inconvenienced and intimidated by a police investigation only to be informed they committed no crime, they will still face the prospect of being placed on Holyrood’s sinister equivalent of the naughty step.

Mr Fraser, who was formerly the Scottish Conservatives’ deputy leader at Holyrood, said: “I was – and remain – furious that the spurious complaint made against me was logged as a hate incident without my knowledge. How many other members of the public are similarly unwitting victims of this Orwellian approach to policing, despite having committed no crime?”

It’s a good question, as is this follow-up: why on earth are Police Scotland involving themselves in the first place in any incident where no crime has been committed? Are we now funding a national social work department, where uniformed officers’ job is to address hurt feelings and reprimand citizens at the behest of keyboard warriors?

In England the practice by some police forces of recording NCHIs has already been ended, but good old “progressive” Scotland is way behind the curve as usual. And this will remain the case so long as its chief constable continues to receive support from the three of the main parties at Holyrood – the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats – for her ludicrous, undemocratic policy.

For in Scotland, the term “progressive” only has meaning if its dictionary definition is subverted for political ends. It was once considered reactionary to assume someone’s guilt unless and until proven guilty. This is no longer the case in Scotland, where the policing of people’s thoughts and words now takes precedence over the humdrum and tiresome job of investigating actual crimes.

True progressives will hope and pray for any legal action mounted by Mr Fraser to succeed. Only then will politicians wake up to the tyranny that their good intentions have engendered. Put simply, it is unacceptable for citizens innocent of any crime to have their political views registered by the police and accessed by future potential employers – or indeed anyone else. Any court will have done us all a big favour by ruling that our personal political opinions are none of the police’s damn business.

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