AS a criminologist, one of my main interests and concerns is with what is known as over-criminalisation – the overuse of laws and policing in modern society. One dimension of this over-criminalisation that often goes under the radar is the practices of the police themselves.

In England a campaign called Fair Cop has been launched to address one aspect of this problem, the policing, indeed the intimidation of people who say things deemed to be transphobic. The campaign explains that individuals have been phoned, visited and interviewed by the police for online comments or after being on television or and after sharing videos or even news clips that are already in the public domain.

In all of these cases the police are very clear that no law has been broken but their guidance on hate incidents explains that they must record and potentially get involved in ‘any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender’.

On the basis of this, various police forces are intervening and contacting individuals who express an "incorrect" opinion, even though they are breaking no law. This has included a 74-year-old ex-humanist, Margaret Nelson who, in her blog questioned the idea of there being more than two sexes. Another, was ex-police officer, Harry Miller who was investigated for sharing a lyric from a feminist song on Twitter.

Mr Miller was told that despite not breaking any law he should not engage in political debate on Twitter because "some people don’t like it". The officer investigating his case explained that he had "been on a course" about trans issues and told Miller that "I need to check your thinking."

In this Orwellian nightmare, for a hate incidents to be recorded, there is no need for evidence of hate, only evidence that someone feels that there has been some hate.

Harry Miller has been granted a judicial review at the High Court about this "incident". Part of his case, he explains, is challenging the police use of the Stonewall definition of transphobia which includes a refusal to believe in the trans ideology.

Check out YouTube and you’ll find similar cases in Scotland, where street preachers in Glasgow and other city centres are arrested by the police for expressing their views about homosexuality - often egged on by what appear to be young activists keen to get the preachers to express their views, get them cuffed and dragged off the streets.

Again, in these cases there are no charges, no crime committed, just "wrong think" and a new form of intimidation and police harassment. As Harry Miller states, "Nineteen Eight-Four is now a policing manual."