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Police on track to receive over one million Hate Crime complaints this year

Police Scotland could receive an estimated 1.4 million complaints in the first year of Humza Yousaf’s “dangerous” Hate Crime Act.

The former general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation says that around 3,800 complaints were lodged within 24 hours of the act coming into force on Monday.

If that rate continues in the law's first 12 months, a total of 1.387 million crimes will be reported during the 2024/25 financial year. That is more than four times higher than the total number of crimes – 302,076 – recorded in Scotland last year.

Shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay says the SNP's Hate Crime Act, which was passed with Labour and Lib Dem support, is the “biggest ever burden placed on Scotland’s police force”.

He added the ‘flawed’ legislation is being “weaponised” by activists as the Scottish Conservatives repeatedly warned about.

The party are now set to launch a petition in which Scots will be able to tell the SNP to scrap the law.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay MSP said: “Humza Yousaf’s dangerous Hate Crime Act is already being weaponised on an industrial scale by thin-skinned troublemakers, which is placing the biggest ever burden on Scotland’s police officers.

“Within 24 hours of it coming into force, Police Scotland has been inundated with complaints, many of them spurious nonsense from activists with an axe to grind.

“At this rate the number of hate complaints will overtake the number of real crimes that are recorded each year.

“Hardworking officers want to protect our communities not waste precious time investigating every single perceived hate crime.

“The Scottish Conservatives warned this would be disastrous for the police and have a chilling effect on free speech.

“That's why we're launching a petition to give the people of Scotland the chance to send a message to Humza Yousaf and the SNP and tell them to repeal this law.”

Notes:

Police Scotland are set to receive more than one million hate crime complaints this year – over four times the total number of recorded crimes that took place in 2023. According to Calum Steele, 3,800 complaints were made under the new hate crime legislation in the first 24 hours of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 coming into effect. If this rate continues over a year, that would mean 1.387 million hate crimes reported. By comparison, there were 302,076 crimes recorded in Scotland in 2023, meaning the volume of hate crimes outnumbers the volume of recorded crimes by more than four to one. (GB News, 3 April 2024, link; Recorded Crime in Scotland December 2023, 27 February 2024, link).