Police Scotland’s Chief Constable has been urged to make a statement on the force’s use of Non-Crime Hate Incidents (NCHIs) after one Conservative MSP accused the service of “political bias.”

On Wednesday night, police confirmed that neither JK Rowling nor Humza Yousaf would have an NCHI logged against their names, despite multiple complaints against them when Scotland's new hate crime legislation took effect at the start of the week.

That appeared to contradict the force’s policy of recording all hate incidents reported to them, regardless of whether or not they meet any threshold for criminality.

READ MORE: Police Scotland will not log 'hate incident' against Rowling or FM

Tory MSP, Murdo Fraser, who does have an NCHI recorded against his name, said there were “a number of serious questions” for Jo Farrell to answer.

In a letter to the Chief Constable, he demanded to know if the policy on logging hate incidents had “now changed for everyone, or only for high profile and powerful figures?”

He pushed Ms Farrell on what would happen to people like him who previously had NCHIs recorded.

“Will these records be extinguished? If not, why not?” he asked.

He continued: “Does Police Scotland accept that the decision to record a NCHI in my case, but not that of the SNP First Minister, suggests political bias?”

Mr Fraser said: “Police Scotland have serious questions to answer following their decision to not to record non-crime hate incidents in situations involving Humza Yousaf and JK Rowling.

“I have now written to the Chief Constable asking if their policy on recording of non-crime hate incidents has changed and if so, who made that decision.

“The public deserve transparency from the force on this very serious matter and I hope the Chief Constable will respond to me as soon as possible.”

READ MORE: Police investigating after racist graffiti appears near FM's home

Speaking to journalists in Dingwall, the First Minister described Mr Fraser’s remarks as “ridiculous”.

He told Moray Firth Radio that the thoroughness of the force’s investigation into Operation Branchform showed that there was no bias from police towards his party.

The Herald:

He said: "I think it's ludicrous to suggest that police have political bias. It's very insulting to police officers up and down the country. And I think anybody looking objectively over the last year couldn't possibly make the argument that there's been police bias towards the SNP or any political party.

“It is a ridiculous statement to make.

“So I think Murdo Fraser should stop attacking the police and let them get on with the job that they've got to do.

“In terms of questions around are non-crime hate incidents that are being recorded, it's for the police to determine that and I understand that they are looking at the changes that were made in England and Wales recently and reviewing their own procedures in that respect.”

A recent court case south of the border triggered a change to the College of Policing guidance on logging hate crime incidents, which means forces in England and Wales do not record anything "trivial, malicious or irrational."

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Yousaf said it was "not a huge surprise" that there had been a "flurry of vexatious complaints" in the first few days of the new legislation being in force.

While no official figures have been released, it has been reported that there were 4,000 complaints within the first 48 hours of the Act taking effect. 

The First Minister said: “We’ve obviously seen that and I would say to people don’t make vexatious complaints – you should desist – because what you’re doing is wasting precious police resources and time.

“But I am very, very concerned about the fact that we have seen those complaints, but at the same time I know that police are very adept at dealing with vexatious complaints, they do it every day and they know how to treat them.” 

The SNP leader said he was also confident that the act would not criminalise fans at this weekend's Old Firm match.

Mr Yousaf said the law offers protections for free speech and has a “very high criminal threshold.”

He said he has “every confidence” in the police to handle the Rangers-Celtic game.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “An initial complaint regarding the recording of a Non-Crime Hate Incident was responded to in writing today (Thursday, 4 April, 2024). Further correspondence was then received from the complainer which will be responded to in due course.”