Earlier this month a so-called “hate crime attack” on a Sikh temple in Bradford made national headlines after a holy book was allegedly desecrated.
However, police and the media jumped the gun, as the “attack” was actually the result of a member of the public donating the book to the Temple.
Initial reports claimed that the book had been thrown over a gate of Bradford Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara (pictured) in a deliberate attempt to “offend” the community.
“Clearly this is an extremely distressing incident for the whole congregation and the wider Sikh community and we have recorded a hate incident”, an officer told ITV news on the 15th of this month.
“Police investigate ‘hate incident’ after religious text thrown at temple in Bradford”, read one headline.
However, the woman responsible came forward after reading the reports, explaining that she had obtained the sacred scripture from the house clearance of a deceased Sikh relative and left it outside the temple because it was closed.
No action is to be taken against the woman, but Detective Chief Inspector Harry Hooks defended the force’s decision to investigate.
— West Yorkshire Police (@WestYorksPolice) August 15, 2016
“Hate incidents can have a negative effect on communities, so we are pleased that this has been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved”, said Mr. Hooks, adding: “West Yorkshire Police takes all reports of hate crimes and hate incidents seriously and each is investigated thoroughly to determine the circumstances.”
The BBC, however, still reported this news as negative. “No action over Bradford Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara ‘hate incident’” was their headline, suggesting the supposed attacker had been let off.
UK police class and record anything that is “perceived” as “offensive” as a hate crime, with no firm evidence needed.
After the Brexit vote, there was a coordinated effort by pro-EU activists to encourage people to report “offensive” things and “hate crimes” which could be blamed on the campaign.
The subsequently reported “rise in hate crime” was later revealed to be mainly “low level” issues and included people calling the police to complain about the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council then confirmed the “hate crime spike” was due to better “reporting”, not an increasing in crime.