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‘Farcical!’ Scottish police given script defending Humza Yousaf over hate crime complaints

Police Scotland staff have been given a script defending Humza Yousaf after he faced a barrage of hate crime reports under the SNP’s controversial new law.

The force issued a “form of words” for call centre workers and officers to recite in response to complaints about a speech the Scottish First Minister gave to Holyrood in 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mr Yousaf, who was Scotland’s justice secretary at the time, said in “99 percent” of meetings he attends he is the only non-white person – and highlighted that a series of high-profile figures in Scottish public life were white.

His remarks were taken out of context in a 45-second clip which was widely shared on social media and prompted Elon Musk to claim he was a “blatant racist”.

The guide states that Mr Yousaf had been making reference to his “own personal experience of racism” and that “nothing said in the speech was threatening, abusive or insulting”.

It adds that when he had been referring to “white people”, he had been “pointing out a matter of fact”.

The guide said: “There was no malice or ill will towards any person or group displayed in anything said, and so it does not meet the threshold to be recorded as a non-crime hate incident.”

Scottish Tory deputy justice spokesperson Sharon Dowey said: “It’s a measure of how farcical Humza Yousaf’s hate crime law is that police officers have effectively been given a script on how to respond to the flood of complaints made against the First Minister under the very legislation that he piloted and introduced.”

It comes as police received more than 7,000 complaints in the first week of new legislation coming into force but just 240 were recorded as hate crimes.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act took effect on April 1, sparking a deluge of complaints.

Critics, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling, have expressed fears over the impact of the law on free speech.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We have received a number of complaints in relation to a speech in the Scottish Parliament on June 10, 2020.

“Earlier complaints regarding this matter were assessed at the time and it was established no crime was committed and no further action was required.”

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