Kettlethorpe: New guidance on ‘non crime hate incidents’ approved

Posted: Thu, 11th May 2023

Kettlethorpe: New guidance on ‘non crime hate incidents’ approved

Guidance saying 'non crime hate incidents' should not be recorded at schools has been approved following a high-profile case involving a Quran.

The revised guidance, which comes into effect in June, was drafted in response to events at a Wakefield school earlier this year when police recorded a 'hate incident' against a pupil after a copy of the Quran was allegedly slightly damaged.

The NSS raised concerns with the Home Office after police recorded the NCHI but took no action relating to death threats issued against the boy from Kettlethorpe High School.

On social media local councillor Usman Ali described the pupil's actions as "serious provocative action which needs to be dealt with urgently by all the authorities", including the police.

Following the incident in February, Kettlethorpe High School suspended four boys and met with Muslim community leaders, councillors and police at the local mosque. Footage from the meeting on social media showed the mother of the boy who brought in the Quran apologising for her son, who she said had received death threats.

The new NCHI guidance says that if a report is made to the police about an incident at a school which does not amount to a crime, the "appropriate police response" is to "refer the matter to the school management team, and to offer advice to the complainant about available support".

It adds: "An NCHI record should not be made on policing systems, and the personal data of the subject should not be recorded."

The guidance clarifies that "offending someone is not, in and of itself, a criminal offence".

It also says "special regard should always be given" to the impact of NCHI recording on "freedom of expression, including the potential risks of a record having a chilling effect on an individual's right to freedom of expression".

The revised guidance also cautions against the recording a NCHI where a complaint is trivial, irrational and/or malicious.

Introducing the new guidance to parliament in March, Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Chris Philp said it establishes a "proportionate and common-sense approach to the recording of non-crime hate incidents" and emphasises "the importance of the right to freedom of expression".

NSS: kowtowing to fundamentalists only emboldens them

NSS executive director Stephen Evans said: "The clarification that NCHIs should not be recorded in school incidents or where a complaint is trivial or irrational is a welcome response to the disturbing case of Kettlethorpe High School.

"In that case, the recording of a NCHI appeared to legitimise the 'blasphemy' accusations levelled at the school and its pupils. Schools should be protected from religious fundamentalists. Kowtowing to their intimidatory demands will only embolden them.

"We still have broader concerns about the recording of NCHIs and their implications for free speech. The NSS and other campaigners worked for decades to repeal Britain's blasphemy laws – they must not be allowed to reappear through any sort of 'back door'."

Image: Meeting at Jamia Masjid Swafia mosque following the incident at Kettlethorpe High School.

Tags: Free speech