Policing priorities in the Thames Valley

I attended my first Strategic Independent Advisory Group at Thames Valley Police HQ this evening. The main item on the agenda was hate crime.

We received a briefing from TVP police staff on hate crime statistics within the force area. I reiterated concerns from the public about the police’s increasing focus on trawling the internet for abusive tweets, to the detriment of freedom of speech. If a crime is committed, then it should be investigated. But at times of limited police resource, officers shouldn’t be sat on computers trawling the internet for hurt feelings.

If people say things online that others don’t like or disagree with, that isn’t hate speech.

Instead, the police should be focusing on issues that matter to people. Burglary, violent crime, and antisocial behaviour. We want actual crimes, with actual victims investigated.

I’ll continue to make my case for sensible policing priorities at the next meeting.