Hampshire cops dump hate-crime ‘re-education’ programme after army veteran’s arrest for tweet explodes
PCC Donna Jones said she was ending the contract with the company which manages the programme. Police officers patrol around in a city in England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
A hate-crime awareness programme which gave alleged offenders an opportunity to avert persecution has been scrapped by a police chief after it came under fire following the arrest of an army veteran for ‘causing anxiety’ by retweeting a picture of a swastika made out of four Pride flags on social media, MailOnline reported.
Hampshire Constabulary was among three forces in the UK that ran the two-hour educational course for people accused of racist, sexist, misogynist and transphobic activities.
The scheme was funded out of the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) budget.
But things went wrong when Darren Brady, the army veteran aged 51, was offered the course after he retweeted the meme that showed the four LGBT flags forming a swastika. He was told that he could avoid getting prosecuted if he participated in the session before they launched an investigation. He was later released without any action.
Donna Jones, Tory PCC, Hampshire, on Sunday (7) said that she decided to end the contract with the company that managed the programme as campaigners — including a cop who was also held during the incident — saying the move was a victory over ‘woke coppers’.
Speaking to The Telegraph, she said, “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.
“In saying this, 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.”
Brady slammed the Hampshire Police on charges of impeding his right to free speech after he was handcuffed on Friday (5) at his residence in Aldershot for retweeting the meme. Footage of his arrest became viral on social media and showed an officer who told the army veteran that his post had caused anxiety and been reported to higher officials.
Harry Miller, a former police officer who was also arrested after claiming that he had tried to stop Brady from getting detained, told MailOnline, “We welcome the intervention of the PCC but the police should never have been acting as judge and jury in the first place. The public don’t need re-educating by woke coppers who think it’s their job to be moral and political guardians.”
Miller, who won a Court of Appeal challenge last December over police guidance on ‘hate incidents’, said police visited the man 10 days ago and informed him that he could take the option of attending an £80 education course to avoid getting arrested and possibly charged with a criminal offence.