Choosing not to sit next to someone on public transport could now be a hate crime, the British police have confirmed – if that person happens to be a Muslim.
The British Transport Police have urged the winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain, to come forward to them with more information after she tweeted that a man had refused to sit next to her on public transport.
According to Hussain the man said: “I ain’t sitting near a Muslim.”
Hussain called the comment “ignorant”.
But the British Transport Police took a different line, saying the man’s behaviour was “unacceptable”, and confirming that they would treat it as a hate crime.
@BegumNadiya Hi Nadiya, this behaviour is unacceptable – please get in touch by texting 61016 or calling 0800 405040 with more details.
— BTP (@BTP) December 15, 2016
They have encouraged Hussain, and others with similar experiences, to come forward and report such incidents as hate crimes so that they can investigate, although they said it would not be up to them whether or not to prosecute.
A spokesman for the British Transport Police told Breitbart London: “Firstly we’d need to speak to Nadiya and ascertain exactly what was said, and then our officers can investigate the circumstances based on that. At the moment all we have is that tweet. We would encourage anybody to report any form of hate crime or any form of abuse to us and then we can investigate.
“It would have to go to investigation, that would determine what would happen, and then the CPS could make a judgement on any form of prosecution.”
If it were proved that the person had said they didn’t want to sit next to her and had moved away, the spokesman said: “We would provide that evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service and they would make a judgement based on the evidence that has been supplied to them.”
A Freedom of Information inquiry in June of this year revealed that there had been 506 cases in which a person was charged with a hate crime following investigations by the BTP in 2015/16. Of those, 462 cases involved racist hate crime specifically.
A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Any crime or incident of anti-social behaviour which is motivated by hatred is abhorrent and British Transport Police is working hard to drive such behaviour from the railway.”