Police Officers Lacking In Mandatory Online Training Against Hate Crime

Police Officers Lacking In Mandatory Online Training Against Hate Crime

By Lucy Caulkett-

Amid the implementation of Scotland’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Act, concerns have surfaced regarding the training of police officers, with revelations that not all officers have completed the mandatory online training course.

The legislation, which came into effect on Monday, consolidates existing hate crime laws while introducing new measures aimed at combating hate speech and behaviour targeting protected characteristics.

Deputy Chief Constable Alan Speirs of Police Scotland disclosed in a letter to Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee that as of December 31, only 10,000 out of 16,363 full-time equivalent officers had undergone the required online training via the Moodle platform. While asserting that the online training is the primary source of instruction, Speirs emphasized the efforts made to prepare officers for the implementation of the Act, including bespoke training packages, workshops, and guidance materials.

However, concerns have been raised by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) regarding the adequacy and accessibility of training resources. SPF General Secretary David Kennedy highlighted the lack of additional funding for police training, expressing dismay that only two hours of online training had been provided to officers.

Kennedy cautioned that inadequate training could undermine trust in the police and called for greater investment in training initiatives.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay echoed these concerns, labelling it as “staggering” that thousands of officers had not received training despite the law being passed three years ago.

Findlay criticized the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour for prioritizing the legislation without ensuring adequate training for frontline officers. He advocated for reallocating resources towards frontline policing and reconsidering the necessity of the legislation altogether.

The implementation of Scotland’s Hate Crime and Public Order Act has sparked debates about balancing free speech protections with the need to combat hate speech and discrimination.

While the legislation aims to address gaps in existing hate crime laws, questions persist about its practical implications and the readiness of law enforcement agencies to enforce it effectively.

 

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