Our joyous new world

A grandfather was arrested at dawn and held in a police cell for six hours for using a single swear-word in front of a council official.

Thomas Catcheside, 67, had his fingerprints and DNA taken, before being issued with an £80 fixed-penalty notice.

Gosh, that\’s an advance in freedom and liberty, isn\’t it?

It\’s now a criminal offence to swear at the servants.

11 comments on “Our joyous new world

  1. No. Not an offence. The bloke rolled over for an easy life. That is the tactics of the Police these days, particularly the dawn raid.

    The Police say an allegation of assault was made. This trump card justified (in their minds) them going in at an unseemly hour and arrest the man when all he did was swear once. Also note the Police didn’t arrest him on suspicion of assault so must have already known the very minor nature of the incident.

  2. quick! somebody think of something bad that used to happen in the old days that doesn’t happen so much now, to offset this idiocy.

    I know, it’s harder to get away with beating your wife up. Phew.

  3. He’s almost certainly got a case for unlawful arrest if he wanted to pursue it. For an easy life, though, he probably wants to drop it.

    Me, I’d pursue them as doggedly as David Mery did:

    http://gizmonaut.net/bits/suspect.html

    By rolling over we encourage the bastards, just like we do when paying ransoms to Somalian pirates.

  4. Since you won’t get any worse for actually thumping these scum, you might as well enjoy yourself.

  5. 1. As I’ve said before, one of the hallmarks of authoritarianism is that the punishment is inversely proportional to the offence, until ultimately any and every form of behaviour can be punished (“ThoughtCrime”) on the say-so of a council official, police office or CPSO. “Fixed penalty notices” take us yet further down this slippery slope, as Simon Jenkins explained in yesterday’s Evening Standard.

    2. There is a separate offence of “wasting police time”. Shouldn’t the officers concerned be punished for wasting their own time?

    3. What Gareth and Brian say.

  6. @3 agreed on this. The law hasn’t actually changed (aggressively swearing at someone is assault, as it always has been; swearing in conversation when it isn’t directed at someone isn’t), but the existence of FPNs means the rozzers are much more likely to get away with doing stuff that isn’t legal.

    @6 yes, unequivocally. That’s why I’ve stopped.

  7. There is a separate offence of “wasting police time”

    It’s also an offence to file a false report, so why do you never hear of the complainant getting their collar felt for “bigging up” an incident?

  8. Swearing at someone is not automatically assault. Assault is the doing, or saying, of something which puts the recipient in expectancy of immediate physical danger, i.e., battery. It is hard to envisage how one single word, be it a swear word or otherwise, could amount to assault. One can guess at the word employed and that it was not a threat but, rather, a statement of fact.

  9. Catcheside was following the council official, swearing at him, and demanding the right to listen in to the official’s phone conversation with his supervisor. It is reasonable for the police to assume that if they went to his home during the day he might have “created a scene” calculated to attract the attention of his neighbours.

  10. ” The law hasn’t actually changed (aggressively swearing at someone is assault…”

    The police couldn’t prove assault though; he was arrested for a lesser offence.

    “It is reasonable for the police to assume that if they went to his home during the day he might have “created a scene” calculated to attract the attention of his neighbours.”

    So what? He was arrested for what he’d allegedly done, not for what he might do in the future.

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