Ex-officer in transgender tweet case says he received threats The Times 27.01.20

The original article is here.

A former constable at the centre of a landmark legal case over tweets that he sent about transgender people has revealed that he and his family have been threatened with rape and murder.

Harry Miller, 55, was visited last year by police from Humberside, his former force, and told that he would be recorded as having carried out a “hate incident” over a series of tweets about transgender people, including a limerick that he had retweeted which questioned whether transgender women were biological women.

He sought a judicial review against the College of Policing for recording “hate incidents” as incidents that can go on an individual’s police record, despite potentially being based on a single complaint which has not been proved or tested in the courts. The incidents can be revealed in enhanced disclosure checks. A judgment on the case is expected within days.

Mr Miller said that he and his family have been threatened on social media with being skinned alive and raped, and that the case, which he never expected to reach the High Court, “has made my life unrecognisable”.

He said: “Fighting this has put me and my family in the public spotlight and our finances at significant risk . . . I suffered extreme mental distress [and] ended up walking 30 miles in my gardening shoes one night in October as I struggled to balance doing the right thing with protecting my family.”

Mr Miller said that he was subjected to “double speak at its finest” when his tweets were recorded as a “non crime hate crime”. He described the police as “thought police” after claiming he was told by PC Mansoor Gul that the officer was there to “check your thinking”.

He criticised the police for being “politicised”, saying they were now “led” by lobbying organisations such as Stonewall and Mermaids.

He told The Times: “My position is that any group can seek to make their case to change the law but they must not do it with the help of the police or other groups that have authority. That the freedom to debate, to speak in public, to argue, to deploy sarcasm and express anger is fundamental to a free and democratic society.

“There is a clear line between targeted harassment (rightly illegal) and simply expressing views that other people don’t like, and that simple upset or distress is not a matter for the police.”