Humza Yousaf has insisted Police Scotland will be able to “weed out vexatious complaints” when the new hate crime law comes into effect on Monday.

The First Minister was speaking after the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) warned MSPs the new legislation would be “weaponised” by activists.

They also said officers could be drawn into “abusive spats” online.

READ MORE: Hate Crime: Tory MSP threatens Police Scotland with legal action

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross raised the letter with Humza Yousaf during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, saying the SNP leader was ignoring warnings about the legislation.

He also pointed to comments by Katharina Kasper, the chair of the Scottish Police Authority’s Complaints and Conduct Committee, who said the investigation itself would become a punishment which may have a chilling effect on the freedom of expression.

The Tory boss also raised comments by the SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

Last week, the KC wrote in our sister paper, The National, that the “process will be the punishment” and that being under police investigation will be “stressful, costly, damaging to reputations and could lead to problems in the workplace.”

“Police should not be dispatched to people's doors to check their thinking,” Mr Ross said. “Doesn't the First Minister recognize the chilling effect chilling effect his law will have on free speech?”

Mr Yousaf said they took seriously complaints by the Scottish Police Federation and ASPS.

He emphasised that there were protections for freedom of expression and freedom of speech explicitly within the legislation.

“I have absolute faith in the police's ability to weed out vexatious complaints. They unfortunately have to deal with vexatious complaints across a whole range of legal matters and complaints that are made right across the legal landscape.

“I have absolute faith in the ability to address these issues in ways that are appropriate.”

He suggested Mr Ross was opposing the Act for the sake of opposition.

“The Hate Crme Act is one that not just I'm proud of, this entire parliament should be proud of, and of course, every single political party came together to support that except the Scottish Conservatives.

“And why should they be proud of it? They should be proud of it because it was supported by a number of groups that represent some of the most marginalized in our communities.”

READ MORE: Hate Crime Act might yet be a success if we focus on what it means

One of the concerns about the legislation is over the recording of accusations even if they do not result in criminal charges. 

Currently, the force's national guidance defines that as "any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards a social group but which does not constitute a criminal offence (non-crime incident)."

But with potentially hundreds of complaints when the new law kicks in, critics fear it could mean many people having non-crime hate incidents against their name. 

Earlier this week, Tory MSP Murdo Fraser threatened Police Scotland with legal action after the force logged one of his tweets as a “hate incident” even though no law had been broken.

Police Scotland has been approached for comment.