Police Scotland has rejected a complaint by a Dundee minister that an anti-hate campaign is itself guilty of a hate crime.
David Robertson reported the Dear Haters campaign, a joint venture between the police and Scottish Government, as a hate crime – claiming a “Dear Bigots” poster specifically was encouraging religious hatred and that he found it personally offensive.
The poster reads: “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.”
The Dear Haters campaign features a series of posters saying there is no place for homophobia, transphobia and other prejudice views in the country.
Mr Robertson, minister of St Peters Free Church, claims the wording of the ‘Bigots’ poster is “poorly worded” and can be read to be aimed at religious people who disagree with marriage equality.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said Mr Robertson misunderstood the meaning of the poster and that it “makes clear there is no place for hate crime or prejudice towards any religion in Scotland”.
Police Scotland has now responded to Mr Robertson, saying they will not be taking his complaints further.
In a letter to Mr Robertson, the force said: “Police Scotland has assessed the circumstances you raise.
“The motivation of the Scottish Government is not based on malice or ill will towards any social group, therefore the circumstances will not be recorded as hate related.
“Details of your correspondence have been recorded and the content passed to Scottish Government, Connected Communities Unit. No further action will be taken in respect of this matter.”
However, Mr Robertson has maintained the campaign is offensive as he perceives it to be – therefore fulfilling the police’s own definition of a hate crime.
Mr Robertson has singled out that the police regard a hate incident as anything that is “not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice”.
He has said he will be taking his complaint further and that there are others who feel the same.
He added: “The police are meant to be neutral from politics.
“I am not satisfied at all. They should get on with solving crimes, not creating them.”
When asked for further comment, Police Scotland sent a statement from Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, head of safer communities.
He said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on a matter of personal correspondence and added: “Police Scotland welcomes correspondence and communication with members of the public”.