Political intimidation by PC PCs


The text of my email to the Police and crime commissioner for Humberside police. If anyone else wants to contract the PCC about this issue, contact details are here: https://www.humberside-pcc.gov.uk/Contact/Contact-Us.aspx

Mr Keith Hunter
Police and crime commissioner for Humberside police


Dear Mr Hunter,

Below is reproduced the text of a twitter thread posted on 26 March 2019 by a user known as @HarryTheOwl

I do not know the real identity of this individual, I assume he will be in touch with you himself. However I wish to express my own deep concern that a police force anywhere in the UK should act in the way he describes.

By his account, Humberside police are telephoning members of the public to take issue with their political views, expressed in an entirely legal manner. I am sure I am not the only person to find this inappropriate and deeply sinister. This is not the way the police force of a free country behaves.

The police should be impartial between all political viewpoints, unless the law is being broken. It should go without saying that this includes opinions about what should be legal or illegal or how the law may be changed.

For police to act in this way is an abuse of power to stifle debate and intimidate one side of a political argument. For the police to be prepared to act in this way on the basis of a complaint that someone has been upset or offended by someone else’s legally expressed views can only encourage a culture of competitive offence.

That is aside from the question of how the police could be more productively using their time.

I would urge you to investigate this matter and ensure appropriate guidance is issued to all police officers on the limits of legitimate police interference in debates between citizens, whether on social media or elsewhere.


Gareth Williams
<Address Redacted>


I am stunned, shocked, upset, aghast and fuming.Just had Inspector Wilson from @Humberbeat call me re my complaint.

Me: Did I commit a crime?
Him: No. But you have upset a lot of people in the trans community.
Me: I do not believe Trans women are women. How do I state that without it causing upset?
Him: Why would you tweet that? Why do you feel the need?

Me: Because I am taking part in a national conversation.
Him: But why do you feel the need to do that?
Me: Because I am a citizen and believe political engagement is necessary. Why are you asking me this?
Him: Because I don’t see why you feel the need to say this.

Me: I can’t believe you, a police inspector, are questioning my involvement in politics. What right have you to do that?
Him: You do have the right. I’m just asking why you feel the need to engage in hate.
Me: Hate? Where’s the fucking hate?
Him: Maybe it’s the wrong wording.

Me: you are a fucking Inspector. You do not get to tell me that expressing a legally held view is hate. And you don’t get to pressure me to stop debating politically.
Him: If you swear, I will end this conversation.

Me. Ok. But I’m angry that you are ringing me and asking me why I’d want to be involved in politics.
Him: You have every right to be involved in politics. But why would you tweet your views when it upsets the trans community?

Me: let me get this straight. I said I do not believe trans women are women, and you ask me why I feel the need to tweet that. Right?
Him: Right. Exactly.
Me: I am ending this conversation now.
*Hangs up*

I am devastated.