This past week, the UK Surrey police department arrested Caroline Farrow, in her home, in front of her children. Farrow is an active journalist and pundit, and as a Catholic, she holds views on gender that are consistent with Church teachings. She was accused of posting malicious messages online against the ‘transgender community’—a charge she denies.
On the evening of Monday, October 3rd, Farrow had no forewarning of the events that were about to unfold. In Farrow’s own words from an interview with GB News: “One minute I was making dinner for my kids and then next I was having my socks checked for drugs.”
In a blunt display of state power, Surrey police arrested Caroline Farrow for posting abusive or offensive memes in a Twitter argument the night before. Along with arresting Farrow, police—without a warrant—removed all electronic devices from the premises.
At the time of her arrest, the police did not present Farrow with any of the evidence against her. It was only at the police station that Farrow was shown the internet content she had been accused of posting: “I was then shown other material that police were accusing me of sending. None of them were my doing.”
On her Twitter profile and in her television interview with Mark Steyn, Farrow argues that she was arrested for “nothing more than ‘a gender Twitter spat.’” She interprets the actions taken by law enforcement as a fishing expedition, prompted by a complaint made by a transgender woman. According to Farrow, the police came to “seize my devices” and to do that, they needed to arrest her. The devices “were seized in order to ascertain whether or not I have been posting offensive memes and posts on KiwiFarms [an online forum].”
During the arrest, police took phones, laptops, her children’s ipads, and a computer she occasionally used, which was kept in the church next door. She expressed shock at how these officers went about retrieving the devices, something which they could have done by lodging a formal request for a warrant, and inviting her to come to the local police station during the day. When Farrow asked to see a warrant, she was told that a warrantless seizure of property was permitted when one is under suspicion of terrorism.
Persecution over her politically incorrect views is not new to Caroline Farrow. She and her children have endured doxxing, ridicule, slander, and death and rape threats for years. In 2018, during a debate on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” with a man who identified as a woman, Farrow referred to him using a masculine pronoun and referred to gender reassignment surgery as child abuse. For using the wrong pronoun, Farrow was labeled as a ‘transphobe’ and afterwards became the target of harassment.
In their official statement, Surrey police explained that the intrusion was justified as “part of an investigation into allegations of malicious communications (sending of indecent, grossly offensive messages, threats, or information) and harassment.” If Farrow is convicted of these allegations, she could serve up to two years in prison.
Ignoring the seemingly unorthodox treatment of Farrow, temporary Detective Chief Inspector David Bentley recognized that the “circumstances behind this investigation” had elicited “significant commentary on social media,” but dodged further comment by referring to legal protocols:
We do not have the freedom of detailing … the specifics of an allegation on social media, as it is critical we do not pre-empt or prejudice any future proceedings at any stage.
The timing of this particular episode is noteworthy, as only very recently the new Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, had told law enforcement heads in England and Wales that “common sense policing” must take priority over diversity and inclusion initiatives, as public trust had been “shattered.” According to her, there was a perception that their forces had spent too much time on “policing pronouns on Twitter” rather than “actually fighting criminals.”
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, blamed Surrey police for mismanaging the affair, reminding them that “police forces in England and Wales have been told by the Home Secretary and the head of the College of Policing to stop investigating Twitter spats and focus on crime.”
It would appear that not all have heeded the call for the marshaling of “common sense policing” and that taxpayer money continues to fund the pursuit of, in the wry words of Morello and Pitt in an essay published contemporaneously with this article, “naughty little ‘transphobes’ to the ends of the earth for speaking basic truths that we all accepted until yesterday.”