A speech by the Home Secretary at the Conservative Party conference has been logged by police as a "hate incident".

Amber Rudd, who represents Hastings and Rye, set out a number of possible measures to reduce immigration, including new restrictions on recruiting overseas workers and students, during the address in Birmingham in October.

She said ministers will consider whether new tests should be imposed to ensure those coming to the UK are "filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do".

Joshua Silver, a physics professor at the University of Oxford, was so concerned he reported the speech to the police, The Times reported.

He told the BBC: "Some politicians have been using hate crime as an instrument to foster support for their political aims."

West Midlands Police said the complaint had to be recorded as a "non-crime hate incident" in accordance with guidelines.

There was no evidence of a hate crime being committed, the force added.

National guidance for police states: "Where any person, including police personnel, reports a hate incident which would not be the primary responsibility of another agency, it must be recorded regardless of whether or not they are the victim, and irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "This was not a hate crime.The Home Secretary has been crystal clear that hatred has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.

"She's made countering hate one of her key priorities, indeed one of the first public interventions she made was to launch the Hate Crime Action Plan."

In the wake of Ms Rudd's speech, suggestions that businesses may be asked to disclose information on the number of foreign workers they employ sparked a furious backlash.

Ministers later insisted any data gathered would not be published and it was not about "naming and shaming" firms.

Former Tory leader Lord Howard, who focused his failed 2005 general election campaign on the issue of immigration, told BBC Daily Politics: "Of course it wasn't a hate incident. What Amber Rudd said was no different from Gordon Brown when he said there should be British jobs for British workers.

"I think Mr Silver should be thoroughly ashamed of himself because what he's doing is to bring a well-intentioned piece of legislation into disrepute.

"The meaning behind the legislation is very important - it's meant to deal with hate crimes - and Mr Silver has been totally unable to justify what he's done in the face of your questioning and is bringing that legislation into disrepute."

Prof Silver admitted he had not watched the speech live, telling the programme: "I didn't actually see the speech but I've read the draft. And I've looked at all the feedback that there was to the speech. I've read the speech carefully and I've looked at all the feedback.

"It's discriminating against foreigners, you pick on them and say we want to give jobs to British people and not to foreigners. It was interpreted that way."