“Bob the Builder” rhymes with “Heil Hitler.”
Think about it.
A man has been landed with a police record for ‘racial hatred’ for whistling the Bob The Builder theme tune at his neighbour.
Officers in Bedfordshire recorded the incident as a non-crime hate incident, which will remain on file for six years and could be disclosed to prospective employers.
Few other details about the ‘crime’ are known, but it is just one of the bizarre cases unearthed by an investigation into the controversial practice of recording ‘hate incidents’ even if no law has been broken.
Others include a swimming teacher in West Yorkshire given a police record after a child’s mother claimed her son had been allowed to bang his head against the side of the pool ‘due to his ethnicity’, and a gay man who alleged he had been ripped off by a drug dealer because of his sexuality.
In Norfolk, a Portuguese national said an unknown person had deliberately left a burger bun on their driveway ‘due to their ethnicity’.
In total, 10,840 non-crime hate incidents were logged last year, bringing the total in the past five years to 120,000 – but Freedom of Information requests sent to 43 police forces in England and Wales failed to identify a single crime that had been solved as a result.
Campaigners have called for the ‘Orwellian’ system to be scrapped, claiming a police record could jeopardise a person’s career even if they were not charged with a crime.
Rupert Matthews, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘The police have got more than enough to do and if it is not a crime then we cannot be putting resources into it. The public is right to ask why are police investigating things that are not crimes.’
The College of Policing said non-crime hate incidents show up only on an enhanced criminal records check if it is relevant to the particular job and is approved by a chief constable.
David Tucker, its faculty head, added: ‘Chief officers must also consider allowing someone the opportunity to reply before information is disclosed, and it should not be disclosed if it is trivial, simply demonstrates poor behaviour or relates merely to an individual’s lifestyle.’
This will teach them.