Murdo Fraser’s details not held in non-crime hate incident records, police say

Police Scotland say the MSP’s personal information was not recorded

Police have said the personal details of MSP Murdo Fraser were not recorded in relation to a non-crime hate incident logged against him, as confusion over the force’s policy continues to grow.

Mr Fraser complained to police when he learned a social media post of his had been reported to the force and was logged after not having met the criminal standard.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Fraser had been critical of the Scottish Government’s stance on non-binary people in the post.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser had a hate crime incident logged against him. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser had a hate crime incident logged against him. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser had a hate crime incident logged against him. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

In a response to a letter of complaint, where he accused the force of breaching the law, a chief inspector in Police Scotland’s professional standards department said: “It was confirmed to you, your personal details were not recorded on Police Scotland’s Interim Vulnerable Persons Database in relation to the hate incident in question.”

Mr Fraser said that he contested police claims that there had been no breach of the Data Protection Act

He has also alleged a breach of the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

The force said an officer had been allocated to investigate those allegations, which the letter described as “complex”.

A non-crime hate incident is recorded when an incident does not meet the threshold for a crime but is perceived to be “motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards a social group”, according to Police Scotland guidance.

On Thursday, the day the response was received, Mr Fraser wrote again to Police Scotland to clarify its policy on the recording of non-crime hate incidents.

In a letter to Police Scotland Chief Constable Jo Farrell, he asked if different standards are applied for such incidents if the accused are “high-profile and powerful figures”, after reports against First Minister Humza Yousaf and Harry Potter author JK Rowling were not logged.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He also asked if the decision to record his case as such and not the First Minister’s “suggests political bias”.

The issue has come against the backdrop of the rollout of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, which has proven controversial and led to thousands of reports this week.

The Bill consolidates hate crime legislation and creates an offence of stirring up hatred against certain protected characteristics, but detractors have warned it could chill free speech.

On Thursday evening, Mr Fraser said: "I'm grateful to finally get a response from Police Scotland, and I await a more detailed explanation as to why they believe, unlike the police in England, why their policy on recording ‘hate incidents’ is lawful.

"I would however contest their claim that I accept that there has been no breach of the Data Protection Act.

"I still await a response to my equally serious letter today on why I have been targeted by the police whilst the SNP First Minister has escaped any action."



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.