Welsh Secretary David Davies faces investigation by Gwent Police over ‘racist’ leaflet | world news

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Welsh Secretary David Davies faces investigation by Gwent Police over ‘racist’ leaflet |  world news

world news

Traveling Ahead, a Wales-based gypsy, Roma and travel advice service, said it had been contacted by locals who were “absolutely horrified” by it.

Trudy Aspinwall, project manager at the charity, told WalesOnline: ‘You would really just have to substitute the words ‘gypsy and traveller’ for any other ethnic group and you would see it’s racist.

“There is no doubt that it was aimed at gypsies and travellers. They are protected by the Equality Act and it is a duty not to incite hostility or opposition based on race.

She added that the comments were that the pitches on offer are not what gypsies, Roma and Travelers “really think will work for them”.

Traveling Ahead also submitted comments to the council’s consultation, saying three of the proposed sites are too close to existing homes.

Mr Davies attacked Monmouthshire County Council for lack of consultation but did not oppose the site itself.

He said: “I have also been told that many members of the gypsy and traveler community are also upset with the proposed locations for the sites. This is not a criticism of the gypsy and traveler community.

Constituency resident Craig Davidson accused the Labor Board of “attempting to drive through” the sites against residents’ wishes and dismissed complaints about the leaflet.

He said: “Everyone is angry about this. There are real local concerns. Complaints to the police are all a bunch of nonsense. It’s ridiculous.

“The police are busy enough as it is without having to run around chasing politicians who have an opinion on a potential site for a traveller’s camp.

“Many, many people I’ve spoken to are against this proposal and I haven’t met anyone who is really for it. »

Human Rights Commission Advised

It was reported in the local newspaper that “concerned organizations and residents” informed the police, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Conservative Party about the leaflet.

Gwent Police confirmed they were reviewing the contents of the leaflets and said they were treating them as a potential non-criminal hate incident.

Det Insp Steve Thomas said: “Officers are reviewing the content of the leaflet and its impact on gypsies, travelers and settled communities in Monmouthshire.

“We take any allegation of discrimination very seriously and are committed to ensuring that our communities are safe and welcoming places for all. »

Gwent Police state on their website that: “Not all hate incidents will constitute criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police.”

The Conservatives have campaigned on the issues of traveler sites before and included a pledge in their 2019 manifesto to “tackle rogue sites”.

The police are “wasting their time”

Mr Davies becomes the highest-profile politician to face hate incident charges since Amber Rudd.

In 2017, a speech about foreign workers by the then Home Secretary was recorded as an incident by West Midlands Police following a complaint from an academic.

The decision by Gwent Police will reignite the row over police recording of non-criminal hate incidents.

In June, the Home Office issued new guidance to police chiefs in England and Wales ordering them to take a ‘more sensible approach’.

He said non-criminal hate incidents “should only be recorded if it is deemed proportionate and necessary to do so in order to mitigate a real risk of harm”.

No less than 120,000 incidents have been recorded over the past five years.

In one of the most high-profile incidents, Harry Miller, a former police officer, was questioned by Humberside Police after liking a limerick on social media deemed offensive to the transgender community.

He then won a court battle against the force when a judge ruled it had unlawfully interfered with his right to free speech.

In another instance, an incident was recorded when a Bedfordshire man whistled the Bob the Builder theme to his neighbour, who perceived racial hatred.

Officers also recorded a non-criminal hate incident earlier this year when a 14-year-old schoolboy, believed to have autism, dropped a copy of the Quran at his school in West Yorkshire.

Sir John Hayes, former Home Secretary, said: “Gwent Police should be focused on catching criminals. He suggested that the force was “guilty of the offense of wasting its time”.

He added: “It is only right for an MP to consult his constituents on this kind of development. It’s perfectly reasonable to say that.

telegraph UK

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