February 9, 2023

Hate crime awareness courses are scrapped by Hampshire police after controversy over army veteran arrested after tweet

  • Hampshire Constabulary has chosen to scrap a hate crime education course
  • The sessions were for people accused of racism, homophobia and misogyny
  • But it ran into controversy after a man, 51, was offered the course via a tweet
  • Commissioner Donna Jones has announced that the force would be shutting down

A police chief has canceled a hate crime awareness course that gave perpetrators a chance to rehabilitate themselves and avoid prosecution.

Hampshire Constabulary was one of three forces in the country to organize the two-hour educational sessions for those accused of racism, sexism, misogyny and transphobia.

The restorative justice scheme was funded from the budget of the Police and Crime Commissioner of the Police. De Telegraaf reports.

However, controversy arose when a 51-year-old man was offered the course after retweeting an image of Pride flags in the shape of a swastika.

The army veteran was told by the police that he could avoid prosecution if he participated in the session before they opened any investigation.

He was subsequently released without further action.

Donna Jones, Tory PCC for Hampshire, has revealed to the media that she is ending her contract with the company that runs the programme.

Hampshire Constabulary was one of the forces in the country organizing the two-hour educational sessions for those accused of racism, sexism, misogyny and transphobia

She told The Telegraph: ‘I inherited a restorative justice contract when I was elected to office last year and the Rehabilitative Hate Crime Awareness course was part of that.

“I have decided that this hate crime awareness course will no longer be offered in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight through a community solution. The change needs to be well planned, but will happen in the coming weeks.

“With this I want to make it clear that when someone is targeted and has suffered violence or abuse because of their protected characteristics, and the incident reaches the evidence threshold for a hate crime, perpetrators can expect police action. This is vital.’

Restorative Solutions is the company behind the courses and will continue to operate in North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary added: “We can confirm that officers explained that the hate-crime awareness course would be offered as an alternative to prosecution in the event that the alleged crime were confessed.”

MailOnline has reached out to Restorative Solutions for comment.