For once I agree with Sussex Police.
The rape prevention posters were not intended to blame the victims and in my view they do not.
They are merely suggesting common sense advice to reduce the risk of people becoming victims. It is no different in principle to being advised to lock valuables and bags in the boot of your car, not to leave ground floor windows in your home open at night or to take care walking through an inner city area with a high incidence of mugging.
Of course we should have the right to do all these things freely without fear of crime but we have to live in the real world.
There are lot of nasty people out there who have no respect for our human rights and are hell bent on crime. For that reason taking precautions to reduce risk is perfectly sensible.
The one criticism I would suggest is that most crime prevention advice is common sense and is arguably somewhat patronising.
The other police related article in the Herald on March 17 was about reporting of hate crime.
My concern about hate crime is that the definition is so broad it includes incidents where there is no demonstrable hate. I can think of several examples.
A young chap was arrested for a homophobic hate crime for cracking a joke directed at a police horse when he said to the officer, “Do you know your horse is gay?”
Similarly in a TV documentary on obesity and dieting a size acceptance campaigner threatened to report Katie Hopkins for a hate crime. Her offence was having to the temerity to ask a woman why she was so fat.
The woman in response had the honesty to admit it was because she ate too much. In addition there has been a worrying trend for schools to record innocuous name calling or playground spats by primary schoolchildren as hate offences.
This is despite not always understanding the meaning of the words they use. Hate crime should be labelled as such only if there is genuine hate i.e. abuse, threat or actual violence, otherwise we run the risk of censoring free speech and criminalising the innocent.