POLICE TELL PUBLIC NOT TO CAUSE OFFENCE

POLICE TELL PUBLIC NOT TO CAUSE OFFENCE

Previously I have written an article setting out my philosophical objections to so called ‘hate speech’ laws, see here.

In that article, I opined that such laws had a chilling effect on free speech because they were based on the nebulous concept of ‘hate’; even if certain speech does not infringe such laws, the police and the public may err on the side of caution.

According to this recent article, see here, Northumbria Police have warned people not to post “offensive” comments online. Yet it is not illegal per se to post “offensive” comments; ‘offence’ is subjective and any individual may potentially be offended by any comment.

Either Northumbria Police do not understand the relevant laws or more likely, they are urging members of the public to err on the side of caution, because ‘offence’ is wider than ‘hate’.

In any event, it is a worrying development for a Police Force to warn members of the public to stick only to inoffensive words online and to be visiting people’s homes in this context, in order to “offer them advice”.