Four street preachers were reported to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for alleged hate crimes.
Chief Inspector Barney O’Connor told the Belfast News Letter:
“We have received four reports in relation to street preachers in the Banbridge area, which are being investigated. These have been recorded as hate incidents.
“There is currently no specific hate crime legislation in Northern Ireland. If a person is found guilty of a crime which in the opinion of the court was motivated by hate, the sentence may be enhanced.
“Whilst something is said by one person is perceived as offensive by another, it may not necessarily be a criminal offence.
“There is no requirement for notification to police of these specific events, although we would always encourage engagement with local police prior to and during any public events to ensure the safety of all.”
These are the first alleged incidents that have come to public attention in Northern Ireland. As of late, there have been a number reported in England with some clergy having been arrested.
As an example, the photo below shows Pastor Reagan King having his details booked by the Police at a demonstration organised by the Protestant Truth Society outside the New Scotland Yard building in London. Pastor King was not arrested.