Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.





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Thursday, 14 July 2016

NOTTINGHAM POLICE//FUR COAT AND NAE KNICKERS

One doesn`t need an economics degree to understand that the greater supply or use of an item tends to cause a devaluation when there is no corresponding demand for such use.  Language is no exception.  Basic words with basic or essential meanings are widely used.  For more focussed, nuanced or subtle variations new or imported words are employed to convey the depth of meaning required by the author or talker. 

Take the word "hate".  It is an old English word related to proto Germanic Dutch and Swedish words from the same origin. It can therefore be assumed to have in its use a universal meaning. The word "crime" as used in its ancient form by the Greeks described an offence against the community as opposed to a personal or moral wrong. The term "hate crime" was unknown prior to the mid 1980s when it appeared in the USA.  It is generally now described as a prejudice-motivated crime, often violent, which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group. Examples of such groups can include but are not limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Those groups now under the hate crime umbrella did not suddenly appear on the statute book one day as requiring protection or special consideration.  Changes in society`s attitudes have driven the definition.  Some people are beginning to ask what are the limits of the definition of hate crime. Those of a certain generation will recollect when it was not uncommon to use or hear grossly offensive terminology against people from Ireland, against black people, against Jewish people, against Catholics or Protestants in Northern Ireland  Liverpool and the West of Scotland. When such abuse was directed against physical appearance; eg the disabled or transgender people public pressure increased the scope of the definition.  What had previously been offensive had become criminal or criminally offensive.  Nowhere has there been more debate on this definition than when the deemed offensiveness and occasionally violence was of a sexual nature.  It became an aggravating factor in sentencing.  

Nottinghamshire police have announced that they are to actively investigate "misogynistic crime".   What has been taken by many to be friendly banter without a hint of malice implied or received could now be recorded as a hate crime. With regard to an alleged incident a police spokesperson is reported in the Mirror as having said, "If the victim feels that this has happened because they are a woman then we will record it as a hate crime. "This doesn’t necessarily mean that a criminal offence has been committed, but means we will carry out risk assessments and offer support as we would to any victim of a hate crime. " (my highlight).

By extending the words "hate crime" to include certain activities in this way IMHO this constabulary is actually reducing the power of the term.  An admission that they will be in pursuit of alleged offenders of whom they will be aware some or many will be innocent of any alleged wrong doing whilst they are using very scarce resources strikes me as their having lost sight of priorities.  During this current year they are striving to ensure services to their public despite a budget cut of £12 million

Surely there has to be a proper trade off in expenditure and result when using tax funded police budgets as in any other scenario.  There is a saying in Scotland which perhaps sums it up: She (i.e. Notts police) is wearing a fur coat and nae knickers.


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