If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 8 October 2010

Dogging is the New Black

I have serious problems with the concept of a 'hate crime'. (We should punish people for what they do, not what they were thinking, but that's another argument.) But it's something I feel I understand, even if I can't fully agree with it.

A crime committed against a person because they are black, or gay, or disabled, or different in some way, is a nasty thing. But the whole point of a hate crime is that the victim is chosen because of something they cannot help - their skin colour, or sexuality, or physical or mental abilities.

Which is why this story is baffling me so much (thanks to Subrosa and several others):

Police have been ordered to stop anyone taking in part in illegal outdoor sex being abused or verbally taunted as it can cause them to suffer post traumatic stress.

An extraordinary new Hate Crime Guidance Manual has been handed to officers telling them to arrest anyone suspected of committing a hate crime against those engaged in ‘dogging’.

Assaulting anyone, even someone who is engaging in public, outdoor sex, is already an offence, but this manual is talking about abuse or verbal taunting, which as far as I am aware are not specifically crimes. Unless - aha! - the victim is a member of a protected group, whereupon the taunting becomes racially (or whatever) motivated and is therefore a hate crime. And now, it seems that the Police want to treat doggers as a protected group, along with the disabled and all the rest.

Black, gay, wheelchair user, gender-reassigned, Gypsy, immigrant, transvestite, bisexual, person who gets a kick out of bonking his missus in front of an audience of men in raincoats - spot the odd one out.

What is the logic behind this? That doggers can't help being how they are, and it is not fair for the rest of us to make fun of them? That they are a member of a differently-oriented sexual community and deserve the protection given to, for example, transgender people? That's the only reason I can see for saying that

people who take part in open-air sex are ‘more susceptible to hate crime’ and can suffer ‘post traumatic stress and depression’ if they are abused
There are victims of crime because of something they cannot help, and there are victims of crime because of something they chose to do, and it's a category error to mix the two. If someone takes my parking space and I abuse him, is that a hate crime? If I catch someone breaking into my house and I call him a snivelling little half-arsed toe-rag who should be skinned and drowned in liquid pigshit, is that a hate crime? And would they be justified in claiming that they had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression because of it? And would the Police listen?

Don't answer that.

I would suggest that calling either of those examples a hate crime, similar to suffering racial abuse, or being tormented because of a disability, shows a complete lack of humanity and common sense. Which, I suppose, is what we have come to expect from senior Police officers.

Next week in the Daily Mail:
Made me feel persecuted and worthless, like common criminal, says man, 17
Someone has suggested an explanation for this. Perhaps when they say 'people having sex in public places' they - er - aren't referring to heterosexuals. That would make sense, of course.

If you see a man and a woman having sex in the bushes, you can abuse them all you like. But it it's two men, it's a hate crime charge and you won't see your home again.

Yes, that fits.


  1. Of course. Your UPDATE comment explains it all.

    Perhaps you should advise ACPO Ltd to put it in their manual.

  2. I've been puzzling over this all day and decided to post my bafflement for all to see. But yes, that is surely the explanation - it's a swipe against the people who object to Ron-Davies-style 'moments of madness', not Mr and Mrs Scroggins having a bit of nookie in a Ford Cortina.

    I'd write the whole thing differently if I started now, but fuck it. I don't mind looking naive.


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