Humza Yousaf says Perthshire MSP Murdo Fraser should ‘stop attacking police’ in hate crime law row

Murdo Fraser should stop “attacking the police” in the row over Scotland’s new hate crime laws and let them get on with their jobs, Humza Yousaf claimed today.

The first minister reacted after Tory MSP Mr Fraser claimed there is “political bias” in the recording of non-crime hate incidents.

Speaking to reporters while campaigning on Thursday, Mr Yousaf said it was “insulting” to suggest SNP politicians were being given favourable treatment.

Last week, Mr Fraser – who represents Mid Scotland and Fife – threatened legal action against police after a post he made on social media was logged as a “hate incident”.

The veteran Conservative’s social media post was flagged to officers after he compared being non-binary – someone who identifies as neither male nor female – to identifying as a cat.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser. Image: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament.

Yet earlier this week police confirmed complaints against Mr Yousaf and Harry Potter author JK Rowling would not be logged in the same way.

They were both reported under controversial new hate laws which came into force on April 1.

Thousands of complaints have already been made to police since the updated rules kicked in.

Mr Fraser accused police of “making it up as they go along” when it comes to recording non-crime hate incidents.

‘This reeks of political bias’

He said: “They have taken a different approach to comments made by the SNP First Minister to those made by an opposition politician.

“This reeks of political bias. It is hard not to conclude that Police Scotland has been captured by the SNP policy agenda.”

But Mr Yousaf said this was a “ridiculous statement”.

Speaking to journalists in the Highlands, he said: “I think it’s ludicrous to suggest that police have political bias.

“It’s insulting to police officers up and down the country, and I think anybody looking objectively over the last year couldn’t possibly make the argument that there’s been police bias towards the SNP or any political party.”

He added: “Murdo Fraser should stop attacking the police and let them get on with the job they’ve got to do.”

The SNP leader said it was a “matter for police” to determine how they log reported hate incidents, and said the current policy was being reviewed.

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