Picture credit: Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images
Artillery Row

The curious priorities of the police

Why is gender criticism a more arrestable offence than being pro-jihad?

Horrific events unfurled on October 7th when the terrorist group Hamas paraglided into Israel to kidnap and murder civilians. This led to a significant number of large gatherings in the UK of those who want to offer support to the Palestinians. Some, however, show that support by actively lauding the terrorists. Whatever view you take of the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestinians, it provokes high and extreme emotions and recent public declarations that, to onlookers, seem very much like incitement to violence and hatred towards Jews. 

It seems reasonable to assume that we would see immediate action from the police, who have been consumed over recent years by the battle against “hate” and the importance of validating the subjective perceptions of self identified victims. Women who think sex is real and that it matters have been at the very sharp end of this dedication in recent years, as the police enthusiastically deployed the “Allport” scale against women who believe that sex is real and it matters. 

Any recognition of biological reality … has led to immediate police action

Any recognition of biological reality, be it on social media, a sticker, or a ribbon on a fence, has led to immediate police action, justified on the basis that such comments are seen as “hateful” and such “hate” is just a short skip and a jump to genocide. Therefore it must be firmly squashed before it “escalates”. We have seen Kellie Jay Keen interviewed at least three times by various forces for her declarations that men cannot be women; Jennifer Swayne arrested and her house searched and books seized for stickering declarations of biological reality around Newport.

Sadly, my reasonable assumption that the police would be keen to tackle hate wherever they found it, proved false. On 21st October 2023 the Metropolitan police issued a public statement about the Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain protest which took place that day alongside a larger protest organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The Counter Extremism Project tells me that Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international Islamist movement seeking to unite Muslims under one Islamic caliphate and its members have been linked to violent acts in multiple countries. It is a banned organisation in at least 13 countries. 

A man at the gathering was filmed chanting “jihad, jihad” while others waved banners referring to “Muslim armies”. I understand there are two meanings to the word “jihad” — a spiritual struggle within oneself against sin or a fight against the enemies of Islam. In the context of a man chanting at such a gathering, in the aftermath of a violent terrorist attack on the State of Israel and defenceless civilians, it did not seem much of a leap to conclude that he was unlikely at that moment to have been conducting a personal audit of his own spiritual struggles.

However, the Met saw it differently. It had the benefit of counter terrorism officers with “specialist language skills” and “subject expertise” who couldn’t find anything wrong with such a chant at such a time, and the CPS lawyers backed them up. As a sop to the members of public who lacked such expertise and found this very alarming indeed, the police managed to have a quiet word with the man chanting to “discourage any repeat”. 

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick spoke for many of us when he said that this  analysis was “surprising” and that words would be had with the Met. But of course, we have been here before, many times. The Home Secretary has repeatedly urged the police to stop focusing on issues of gender identity and get back to policing. The police seem deaf to it all. 

Offering gentle words of discouragement to a man inciting terrorist violence, contrasts starkly with the police treatment of an autistic teenager on 7th August 2023 in Leeds, who was dragged away screaming by 7 police officers for saying in or on the doorstep of her own home, that a female police officer with short hair looked like a lesbian, like her grandmother. 

To be fair, I can see why the police might be keener to get up close and personal with a terrified child in her own home than an angry man, surrounded by very many other angry men out on the streets. But the lack of police officers to effectively contain such a situation is not a reason to deny the reality of the hatred and incitement on public display.  Something very wrong has been allowed to happen for far too long with our police. Each public display by various police forces of their fear and their favour, further erodes public trust and confidence, until very soon there will be nothing left at all. 

As a woman who believes sex is real and it matters, I have frequently been told that my unexceptional views on sex and gender are akin to “terrorism”. I was recorded unlawfully by the police as a “barrister posting hate”. I am furious. But if I were a Jew, I would be terrified.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover