Is being offensive an offence? Some of those at Merseyside police who are tasked with upholding the law think so.
Over the weekend, officers from the force posed in front of an electronic billboard telling passers-by that 'We will not tolerate Hate Crime on any level'. The warning displayed behind the masked officers also told members of the public that 'being offensive' is indeed a crime.
Now, it seems, Merseyside police has changed its mind. 'We would like to clarify that being offensive is not in itself an offence', said a statement put out by superintendent Martin Earl:
‘A message on an ad van and social media this weekend by the Local Policing Team on the Wirral to encourage people to report hate crime although well intentioned was incorrect and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused’
Mr S is glad that one is cleared up then. A tweet advertising the unveiling of the billboard has since been deleted. Perhaps Merseyside police might be better off concentrating its resources on policing real crime...