Scotland’s Controversial Hate Speech Law Is Wildly Inefficient

Scotland’s unpopular law banning speech that is believed to be “stirring up hatred” is becoming a huge drain on the country’s police force, who are obligated to follow up on every anonymous report.

The law was enacted by the Scottish government on April 1 of this year, and unfortunately for Scottish citizens, it wasn’t a joke. The law “criminalises threatening or abusive behaviour and the communication of threatening or abusive material which is intended to stir up hatred against” people based on the characteristics of “disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity.”

Since the law came into effect, there have been nearly 10,000 complaints reported to Police Scotland. More than 6,000 were reported in the first week.

When the law went into effect, Yousaf asked people to “desist” from making complaints which were “wasting precious police resources and time”.

It seems that the majority of complaints are still a waste of police resources and time, however.

Just over half a percent of those reports were deemed legitimate hate speech. That adds up to less than 60 cases.

If reports continue at this rate, hate crime complaints could quickly become more numerous than all other police reports in the country combined.

A number of complaints were about Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf, reporting him for a 2020 rant in which he heavily criticized the number of white people in positions of power.

Scotland’s population is 96% white and isn’t afraid to elect people of color to government positions, with Yousaf himself being of Pakistani descent, so it comes as no surprise that the speech in question was wildly unpopular.

Almost as unpopular, in fact, as the new laws, which only 21% of Scots support.

Hate speech reports are made anonymously to the police, who are required to investigate every single report. Much of the work involved is clerical, but it still needs to be done and requires the attention of control room officers, who are still doing important work to support the police force.

Reports emerged shortly after the law went into effect revealing that police officers were being called back from vacations and working overtime.

At the end of the day, all of that overtime will have to be paid for with taxpayers’ money. Scotland will be shelling out big time for a law they never asked for and overwhelmingly don’t support.