Anyone who posts or tweets hateful messages about any group online has too much time on their hands if you ask me, but at what stage does something like that become a police matter?
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For 53-year-old Harry Miller from Hull, simply ‘liking’ a Tweet which appeared to mock transgenderism was enough to have Humberside police get in touch.
An officer spoke to him for half an hour on the phone after he liked a limerick on Twitter which was deemed derogatory against the transgender community.
Harry, himself a former policeman, says the officer on the phone told him that he was investigating reports of a hate crime. He explains:
Cop said he was in possession of 30 tweets by me.
I asked if any contained criminal material. He said “No.” ‘I asked if any came close to being criminal and he read me a limerick. Honestly. A limerick. A cop read me a limerick over the phone.
After telling the PC he did not write the limerick, he reportedly said:
But you liked it and promoted it.
He concluded: ‘It’s not a crime, but it will be recorded as a hate incident.’
Harry said the conversation turned ‘incredibly sinister’ as the officer tried to probe his ‘thinking’.
The cop told me that he needed to speak with me because, even though I’d committed no crime whatsoever, he needed (and I quote) “to check my THINKING!” Seriously. Honestly.
Finally, he lectured me. Said, “Sometimes, a woman’s brain grows a man’s body in the womb and that is what transgender is.” You can imagine my response.
Lastly, he told me that I needed to watch my words more carefully or I was at risk of being sacked by the company for hate speech.
Harry says he is actually the chairman of his company and later told The Spectator how the incident made him feel like a ‘criminal’.
I just find this all unbelievable and sinister.
I’ve broken no law, the police don’t suggest that I’ve done anything illegal. But here they are, investigating me for tweeting a limerick. It’s mad, completely mad.
Well, whether you agree with Harry’s views or not, it does seem a tad scary that the police felt the need to contact him over ‘liking’ a Tweet that he was not even responsible for. Extra terrifying if the telephone conversation with that police officer went down the way he says it did.
Besides, aren’t there more pressing issues for the police to deal with than what people are liking or reacting to on social media?
What would Orwell think? The future he predicted is already taking effect in China, we might want to be mindful of heading down the same route.