It is often said that we are living in an age of offence these days, with people taking umbrage over things that would have been laughed off in decades past. However one police force in the UK has now invited members of the public to report “insulting comments” for further investigation, as part of a new campaign.
Taking to Twitter, South Yorkshire Police, in Yorkshire, northern England, announced their Hate Hurts campaign and told people to report “non-crime” hate incidents, where people have had their feelings hurt by cruel words either face to face or online.
The post read: “In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it #HateHurtsSY.”
However, people were quick to poke fun at the campaign – which aims to reduce the use of hateful and discriminatory language – suggesting that the police force must have made fast work of solving the actual crimes on their beat, if they have time to deal with “hurt feelings”.
In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it #HateHurtsSY pic.twitter.com/p2xf6OLoQZ
— SouthYorkshirePolice (@syptweet) September 9, 2018
One wrote: “Seriously? Criticism – having a different opinion & arguing your case is NOT HATE CRIME. If the other person has hurty feelings this does not warrant calling The Police who should be dealing with real crime.”
Another said: “My daughter said that a girl in the playground told her that she hated her. Can you let me know the investigation plan please and make sure the detective keeps me updated on the progress. They have made up now but that’s not the point. It should not be tolerated. Thank you.”
While one said: “Well I guess you’ll have to come arrest me, because I’m pretty sure that the amount I’m laughing at you is considered a hate crime at this point.”
Two further posts, which used the same hashtag of #HateHurtsSY, went on to explain the definition of (non-criminal) hate crimes, suggesting they could be targeted towards someone’s race, gender or religion, saying that “no-one should have to tolerate it”.
It read: “Hate can be any incident or crime, motivated by prejudice or hostility (or perceived to be so) against a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability. Hate hurts and nobody should have to tolerate it. Report it and put a stop to it.
“Hate can cause a range of emotional responses, including fear, anger and shock. People experience mental and physical well-being issues such as problems sleeping, depression, anxiety and paranoia. Hate hurts and no-one should have to tolerate it.”