HAVING declared open season on men being free to physically assault women, Police Scotland and their brethren across the UK are obviously keen to fill the crime statistics gap through other means. 

It was encouraging to see the police act firmly and quickly when Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, was called a “deviant” as he conducted an interview. They quickly tracked down the person accused of shouting this word and charged him under hate crime legislation. 

Some of Mr Harvie’s supporters seemed certain that shouting “deviant” at someone is a homophobic slur, though nowhere has this word ever previously been connected with that.

If the person accused of shouting this bad word at Mr Harvie pleads not guilty to the alleged offence their defence could be a very interesting one.

Mr Harvie is no stranger to expressing very unpleasant sentiments towards people with whom he disagrees. 

It seems, though, that in matters of alleged hate crime, there is one law in Scotland for influential government ministers and another when the victims are women expressing reasonable and protected beliefs around sex and gender.

The SNP MP Joanna Cherry put it starkly in a recent column for The National.  

“The police lost no time in arresting and charging someone for allegedly shouting ‘deviant’ at Patrick Harvie while the young men who displayed disgusting signs advocating extreme violence against women at a rally in Glasgow earlier this year have seemed very hard to track down despite their photographs being plastered across the media after unwitting politicians were photographed standing in front of them.

“Even worse, a middle-aged woman taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Aberdeen in July was attacked and punched in the face by a man trying to steal her banner. 

“Rather than charging him with assault, the police let him off with a warning. So much for zero tolerance of violence against women.”

Badly pitched
THE police seem to have embraced this new interpretation of what protecting the public means, aka “if you don’t like the look of them arrest them”.

This was apparent in proposed guidelines contained in a public consultation targeting travelling football fans – although it would appear that cops have since backed down from their draconian travel proposals. 

It seems that someone high up in the police had recently been visiting Belarus on best practice for maintaining public order.

Among the proposals were that bus conveners must liaise with a “dedicated police officer” 48 hours before the game and that the bus be prevented from stopping within 10 miles of a stadium before or after the event. 

They would be banned from stopping at pubs unless they can show that any alcohol sold was “ancillary to a substantial meal”. Bus conveners would be required to inform their dedicated officer of “any chanting demonstrating hostility based on race, ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity, or chanting of an otherwise grossly offensive or inflammatory nature” which might occur on their journey. 

Still, I suppose we can’t condemn Police Scotland for grasping the thistle, even if it is somewhat late in the day. For generations, they’ve ignored abuse and intimidation of the Catholic Irish in Scotland. Earlier this year, their own outgoing boss Sir Iain Livingstone condemned his own force for its “institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination”. 

So let’s embrace Police Scotland’s newly-discovered vigour in eradicating unpleasantness on the streets of Scotland. 

Ban and a drama
IN a spirit of fraternal goodwill to my police brethren I’d like to make some further suggestions.  

All supporters should be banned from wearing any delinquent bunting or millinery in the vicinity of any public place at any time, because, well … you just never know. 

An approved list of colours approved by the police’s cultural partner, Stonewall, will be issued to all football supporters. Anyone who persists in displaying the colours of their own team will be seized for questioning.  

All supporters must complete an online questionnaire no later than two weeks before a game before ingress to the stadium can be granted. 

All details of their Google search history must be supplied and verified by at least two other parties. 

An electric tag will be attached to the legs of all supporters. 

This will administer a mild electric shock should the wearer sing or shout anything deemed unacceptable. It will use AI-generated algorithms.

A list of approved songs and chants to be issued. Suggestions to include: All Things Bright And Beautiful; We’ll Meet Again; and Mairi’s Wedding. 

Police officers will be vigilant for anti-social hand gestures.

Blow the whistle on abuse
OF particular concern to all civic-minded football supporters is the appallingly abusive treatment of Scotland’s refereeing fraternity. 

The Herald:

Every weekend they try to administer the laws of the game with an all-seeing eye and are met with universal opprobrium. 

I’d be in favour of giving referees protected characteristics under the Equality Act and making any abuse of them a Hate Crime.