British Police Department Calls On Citizens To Report Non-Criminal Offensive or Insulting Comments

download-1We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech. Now the South Yorkshire police department is making it clear that it does not just want citizens to report crimes but “incidents” involving offensive or insulting comments. This follows an effort to make wolf whistles a crime in England.

According to the Times, over 3,000 people in the UK are arrested every year under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which makes it illegal to intentionally “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.”

Now, the police have sent out a tweet to citizens stating that “In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it.”

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In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it

The police also posted an explanation that “we also want to know about non-crime hate incidents. These incidents may not be criminal offences but often can feel like a crime to those affected, and can sometimes escalate to crimes.”

So the police will now assemble dossiers on insulting comments or gestures?  It is the realization of the fear of civil libertarians as the English plunge further into speech regulation through police monitoring systems.

57 thoughts on “British Police Department Calls On Citizens To Report Non-Criminal Offensive or Insulting Comments”

  1. Why stop with race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity? What about politics, whether your diet contains meat, GMO/organic, your favorite footballers, rich vs poor, etc.

    Hate is hate. Gagging people will not make them kinder, gentler people. How is repression working out for Iran? What has every study indicated on the outcomes of repressive societies?

  2. “Communications Act 2003, which makes it illegal to intentionally “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.”” Really? Then why aren’t all telemarketers in prison by now? What about that call center that makes you listen to elevator music for 9 hours before you are finally connected to someone who has no idea how to do tech support? Or when a teacher informs you that regardless of your complaints about her poor performance, or the poor test scores of her class, she’s tenured so there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. What about Pope Frances who blamed the devil of accusation for the pedophilia/gay orgy scandals consistently and continually occurring? What if someone asks when your baby is due but you’re just overweight? What about Antifa calling anyone they disagree with a fascist and threatening, or committing, violence? Or calling “Trumpsters” racist, etc? Political intolerance? Persecution and bigotry on the basis of religion?

    I’d say that all of the above cause annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety. If they’re going to enact a law that is the antithesis of Free Speech, then they must be taught a lesson. Rigorously apply it evenly, and then perhaps when they realize they have to imprison pretty much the entire country except for a few dear old grans, they might realize it’s a mistake.

    Criminalize wolf whistles? What is this, a Puritanical society?

  3. Interesting twitter thread here, including a debate between a radio host and South Yorkshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner.
    Seems the South Yorkshire Police department is a troubled place. Here’s a 2015 news article alleging “two local councillors, one of whom is still serving, and a police officer have been accused of having sex with victims involved in the Rotherham child abuse scandal.” One “is alleged to have passed on information to gangs grooming young girls. A second police officer has been accused of neglecting his duties after failing to report his colleague.”

  4. So the problem I have with this kind of reporting has to do with what’s in the public’s domain.The more and more artifacts they collect on their citizens the more the British government is responsible for managing public content. Does the public get any return if this data is sold to outside or third party interests? Couldn’t the government be made a mockery of if there were infact so many violations and nothing was done about 98% of them? I’m going to go watch V is for Vendetta again. The Brits are crazy.
    I love Nicola Walker and Benedict Cumberbatch, but the policestate there is a little nutty.

  5. England is once again validating the American Revolution. This grotesque power dynamic and attack on personal freedom should be condemned and rejected. Calling on citizens to report one another is unnecessary. Certainly a free people should be able to report crimes to the police, but police encouraging such a low bar for reporting will gin up controversy, suppress free speech and expression, and damage trust between the people.


    While I don’t condone the criminalization of speech, Great Britain’s current ethnic composition, and conflicting cultures, fosters dynamics not present in the U S. Said conflicts include radical jihadists preaching hatred from neighborhood mosques. In fact, a disturbing number of ISIS fighters descended on Syria from Western Europe.

    Professor Turley’s column, however, suggests these free speech limits are the result of radical ‘leftist’ tendencies. In reality, they are more than likely tools for British law enforcement to combat jihadists who have gained strong footholds in British cities.

    One should note that British cities have much greater population density than U S cites. And that density affects dynamics regarding ethnic tensions.

    Here in the U S, Donald Trump and his supporters would have us believe that migrants from Central America threaten American values. But the dynamics are not comparable to Great Britain’s. Migrants from Central America are almost entirely Catholic which poses little conflict to American Christians.

    Migrants from Central American are also Native American with regards to ethnic make-up. They are Native Americans moving further north in the Americas. Whereas non-Christian immigrants to Great Britain are typically from countries far removed from the British isles.

      1. Well you see, Spastic, I don’t write in snotty, dismissive tones. So a dismissive snot like you might not understand that comments can simply address a situation without theatrics.

          1. Spastic, I know you feel a peculiar obligation to play ‘insufferable’ in every comment. But as I pointed out, many times, ‘insufferable’ is almost always linked with ‘bore’. And a woman who devotes her life to playing “The Man Who Came To Dinner” is undoubtedly a bore, if not a raving neurotic.

            1. You are dodging a legitimate question. What was your point? I’ve read your post a few times and you seem to have been triggered by the Radical Leftist accusation. You state:

              Professor Turley’s column, however, suggests these free speech limits are the result of radical ‘leftist’ tendencies. In reality, they are more than likely tools for British law enforcement to combat jihadists who have gained strong footholds in British cities.

              There is no justification for stripping basic freedoms…period. Your most recent comment to TSTD would get you reported to the South Yorkshire police. These are not tools for law enforcement. The tools are the useful idiots that enable these unjust practices by government.

              1. Olly, Turley framed this column as as being a matter of leftist speech limits. But anyone who knows Great Britain’s current climate can see what these limits really are. Thankfully we dont have those same problems here. So it’s easy for us to opine on the virtues of free speech.

                1. But anyone who knows Great Britain’s current climate can see what these limits really are.

                  This is where progressives begin to destroy the very thing they think they are improving. You think of things from the perspective of the good you want, without any consideration of the bad that might come from it. It does not matter what the motivation of LE is in Great Britain. It doesn’t matter what the current climate is in Great Britain or how well anyone and everyone understands what this LE policy is intended to do. What matters is the infringement of rights…period.

                  Let’s play out your thought process. LE is instituting this policy to crackdown on radical Islam and the Jihadi’s in their midst. So everyone is now called upon to report hate speech incidents to LE. What a great cause, you know, making GB safer for law-abiding citizens. Let’s overlook the obvious flaw in it’s inception: infringing rights. Why? We’ll overlook it because it will make the world, or at least this small corner of it safer for democracy. That’s the theory. The reality, which progressives never seem to think their way through, is that in the long term, nothing good comes out of empowering government to strip rights of people we don’t like. Why? Because you are one report away from having your own rights stripped. You say, but I’m not a radical Muslim, I’m not a jihadi! Sorry ole chap, that argument sailed the moment you agreed the government has the power to do this…to anyone.

    1. Nothing you have stated is a justification for abridging the rights of free speach.

      The british have forgotten that the most eloquent defense of free speach is their own, authored by John Stuart Mill.

      1. dhilii, let me get this straight, you think radical jihadists (far from America) should be able to preach hatred in neighborhood mosques??

        I guess as long as their in Birmingham England and ‘not’ in your backyard, you don’t really care.

        1. i think they have the same parameters of free speech as anyone. that’s important. once they are here whether tourists or migrants they get free speech. the limits of free speech are wider than most people think when it comes to violent talk. i won’t spell out the cases, look it up yourself

          but the right to come here is not the same thing. our constitution allows the President to discriminate in a way that police can’t when it comes to speech of folks once here. that’s a peculiarity of our system but one that should be well used!

          So immigration should restrict them in the first place. Radical imams are undesirable migrants to the United States. I have no problem saying so.

          so that would have headed off a lot of this at the pass.

          same thing England really.
          hail Enoch Powell was right

          1. Enoch Powell was right

            No he wasn’t. His speech was a long whinge about Caribbean immigrants, who aren’t much of a problem.

            1. I agree the Caribbean population is not strictly a problem in itself. Apologies to the many fine Jamaicans etc. But it diluted the sense of who is an Englishman. So that others worse yet would be foolishly welcomed to the small island.

              But the point adheres to others, and the basic thrust was sound. In the Pakistani-majority districts of modern day Londinium the point is as plain as what the eye sees walking down the street


              Moreover the same thing was true of letting in Algerians. You walk around the Place de la Bastille today and most faces are Arabs.

              Europeans, great at keeping out invaders armed to the teeth, bad at keeping out the meek and mild ones. Camp of the Saints.

            1. probably we only a quarter agree. you come back later i am sure i will have offended you. have a nice day nonetheless

          2. what did the Celts, Romans, Saxons, Normans, all share?

            What do the current day “migrants” not share?

            only trivial things or profound, deep things?

            If you think religion and ancestry and culture are all trivial, if you think individual merits like intelligence education and entreprenurial ability are irrelevant, then let everyone in, regardless! that’s the modern day program. I say it SUCKS!

            Is a country a people like an extended family, or is just a subdivision of territory for international capital to locate and relocate its surplus labor supply?

        2. There is an enormous difference between “hate speech” and “speech that is a direct call to violence.” The first has no limit because all speech is “hateful/offensive” to someone. The latter can and has been clearly defined by law.

          It’s best to not invite the jihadists to live in our midst in the first place. All citizens are free to express their opinions(this includes nazi’s, commies, KKK, jihadists, satanists, antifa, democrats), but if they make a call for violence then they must be thrown in jail as per the law.

          The UK needs thousands of Tommy Robinson’s speaking their minds. And we need to stop the inflow of Islam into our country. We already have our own problem areas.

          1. Islam posits its own laws. And the right to displace secular states by force. It is as much a revolutionary ideology as communism was.

            But it is certainly a legitimate religion. There is a big problem here for modern secular states that are unmoored from their historical underpinnings to people and culture.

            The Enlightenment ideology that is classic liberalism and its system capitalism, can tolerate Islam. And Islam shows some facility in working with and inside and alongside liberalism and capitalism.

            Some Muslims will have no truck with it however and ironically, the very ones that the US has backed to over throw Qadaffi and try to overthrow Assad, are among the most radical, illiberal, dogmatic and violent sorts.

            We are at peril from our own former mercenaries, as we were with Al Queda on 9/11 years ago.

            one could go back and talk about the history of Wahabism and the use of Arab crazies by the Crown in various places the Empire found in need of fixing, but it is so much boring stuff to most people i won’t bother.

    2. look at the poster. the poster indicates to the viewer that the bad guys are the whites and the poor victims are the nonwhites.

      blatant governmental oppression of the native white population of the UK.

      by the way. the largest numbers of refugees last year came from Africa. It’s dubious that they are very compatible with America. Probably not in most cases. Especially coming from Somali as many do.

      if i said that in the UK they might report me to police i guess

  7. Pick your extreme; to the left this sort of nonsense which will obviously be pulled back as most people won’t put up with it, and to the right racism, bigotry, hatred, self loathing, etc which seems to be more ingrained in those that are so relieved to have this nonsense to accuse. From the middle, left or right, it is understood that this is a reaction which as a pendulum swings almost equally in each direction. This is an extreme reaction to the even more dangerous expressions of racism, bigotry, hatred, etc. When one, the cause, subsides, so will the other. Turley, you should work on the most dangerous of the two, instead of winding up the right wing nuts on your blog. Unfortunately, you would lose most of your readers.

    1. Isaac, face it: it’s the left’s bone-headed, self-indulgent jousting with it’s “-ism” windmills that leads to this insanity. Could it be they’ve realized their lives have no meaning without it? They’re all “riled up” to combat lynchings, but – since lynchings are a thing of the distant past – they’ll settle for “hate speech.” Absurd.

      1. Point is, you have your idiot politically overly correct to the point of being a nuisance left wing extremist. This extremist is openly extreme and is typically contained by the obvious stupidity of their arguments. Then you have the idiot, possibly inbred, nazi, white power, right wing extremist who you find in cabals. Take your pick. For me, it’s left of center, not right of center, far left, and obviously not extreme right. Being right or left of center indicates that one is partially in the other camp on certain issues. This blog invites the extremist right wing nuts that see it all as either one or the other. There may be blogs that invite the extremist left wing nuts that see it all as either one or the other, but not here. Here you find in a minority the centrists both left and right, but in the majority extreme right wing fanatics. Read over the comments to see.

    2. very arrogant Canadian Isaac to constantly preach to Americans and now you call undefined persons here wing nuts and scold the professor who hosts your podium.

    3. It is self evident that “this sort of nonsense” proceeds from the left.

      What is your evidence that racism, bigotry, hatred, and self-loathing are attributes common to much liess unique to the right ?

      The greatest mass murders and genocides and history – are of the left.

      Rwanda or the cambodian killing fields ?

      If eugenics and genocide did not originate with 19th/20th century progressives they certainly were vigorously pushed by them.

      Today, I see half the country hating the other – the left hating everyone not of the far left.

      Campuses are not rioting because marxists seek to speak – they get marxists in half their humanities courses.
      The hatred boils over – not just when some right extremist like Richard spencer tries to speak, but even when moderates like Peterson, McDonald, Shapiro, Rubin, or Murphy try to speak.

      The nonsense that there is speech so offensive that it can not be uttered was totally destroyed by JS Mill almost two centuries ago.
      But then the left can not read – certainly not dead white men like Thoreaux, Locke, Smith, Voltaire or Mill.

      Who is calling who “deplorable” ?

      There are lots of problems on the right, but it is the left that is threatening to burn everything to the ground if it does not get its way.

      1. Cambodia was a leftist thing but I don’t think Rwanda was. Strictly just tribal warfare. Cant really blame commies for that one.

      2. When social administration arrives at the extremes represented by Cambodia, Stalin, Hitler, Rwanda, etc it is neither left or right, but power for power’s sake perversely using an ideology to attach some credibility to the slaughter. The ignorant response from the ‘free’ societies that are threatened by these power surges attaches an ideological rational in order to identify and label as ‘them’, as in ‘us’ and ‘them’. In most cases the people of the potential enemy are more oppressed by their own power structure. Not much socialism or communism going on.

        Paranoia and slaughter stems from collective madness. Cambodia was not a extreme leftist expression. Cambodia’s genocide targeted the socialists, leftists, intellectuals, teachers, etc., not so much the right. Rwanda was a tribal retribution thing. That problem started with the free for all right wing capitalist, colonial activities of Belgians under King Leopold. 15 million locals were killed to set an example for those who didn’t work hard enough or complained. The birth of that genocide can be found on the right.

        The left wing extremists of the time, the goody two shoes advocating against colonialization were out gunned by the survival of the fittest, white man’s burden, etc right wing extremists. There are still some who carry that white man’s burden.

        1. “When social administration arrives at the extremes represented by Cambodia, Stalin, Hitler, Rwanda, etc it is neither left or right, but power for power’s sake perversely using an ideology to attach some credibility to the slaughter. ”

          Do you beleive it is a coincidence that every existing example represents a failure of the LEFT.

          The failure is the obvious failure noted by Lord Acton long ago.

          Power Corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          No ideology that invests the state and small numbers of actors within the state with enormous power can avoid this bloody outcome.

          Even if you falsely exclude National Socialists, from the “left”, we still have a century during which the LEFT has massacred hundreds of millions of people.

          Every single right wing groups combined – even if we pretend that Nazi’s are somehow right rather than left – despite their OWN claims to the contrary, the numbers are still unbeleiveably lopsided. All WWII deaths are dwarfed by Stalins murders, and Stalin is dwarfed by Mao – and then we have to consider the mass deaths from starvation that each imposed on their own people.

          Further we need not confine ourselves to the 20th century, The french revolution is distinct from the american revolution three ways:

          Copious bloodshed,
          Its strong left tiilt.
          Its leftist substiitution of equality for liberty.

          Your entire argument collapses in the face of history.

          There is plenty of misconduct from those purportedly on the right – though the pretense that colonialism is a right wing or capitalist phenomena is bizarre.
          You seem to forget that classical liberalism is the font of anti-colonialism. That depriving people of freedom is anti-thetical to the very individual liberty that is the core of classical liberalism and free markets. You also seem to forget that same classiical liberalism is the politiical ideology that DISPLACED Colonialism.

          Did not the American Colonists REVOLT from the british colonialists ? Was not pretty much every 18th and 19th century classical liberal also an abolitionist ?

          BTW the 15M estimate for Leopold is the absolute extreme end and highly unlikely. There are no reliable numbers and no records.
          Most of the deaths were due to disease.
          Further Leopold used the wealth he stole from the congo to deliver largess to the belgian people – sure sounds like socialism to me.

          “Paranoia and slaughter stems from collective madness.”
          Leopold was collectively mad ? Stalin ? Mao ? Robespierre ? Pol Pot ?

          I will not disagree with you that people will commit genocide to get and keep power.
          But you fail to grasp that the ideology that vests the largest amount of power in government is sociialism, and that is why it inherently results in copious bloodshed.

          “The left wing extremists of the time, the goody two shoes advocating against colonialization ”
          Busy rewriting history.

          The leading classical liberals of these time periods were among the most ferverent anti-colonialists.

          But do not let reality get in the way of a good left win meme.

  8. Another indication, in case we needed one, that the Cameron and May ministries in Britain have been useless. Just as soon as the Conservative Party was free of the Liberal Democrats, they should have had legislation on deck putting an end to this. It’s also another indication that the institutional culture of Britain’s police services and courts are corrupted. See Theodore Dalrymple on British courts. See discussion of Rotherham on British police services.

    The palaeo types call this sort of thing ‘anarcho-tyranny’.

  9. I can see this causing a lot more problems than it will solve. A friend of mine has a retail store just off of a university. When customers come in he often has conversations with them. One day 2 professors came into the store. A couple of guys who were kind of a liberal mindset. The professors made the comment about how students communicate with each other, electronically. When we speak to each other face to face we can say things and depending on our tone of voice, our jestures, or even facial expressions can change the way that a person may receive our words. You may send an email or tweet someone and all they are, are printed words that can be misunderstood by the person on the receiving end. I just think our freedom of speech should be left in tacked. If people would just grow their skin a little thicker, this would solve a lot of problems.

  10. Britain has fallen as a Western democracy. It’s part of the caliphate now having succumbed to the Left’s collectivist ideology and their Muslim shock troops. Brexit was the last stand now undermined by their very own Petain, Theresa May. Ironically, the survival of Western style democracy resides in Eastern Europe in former Soviet sattelites like Hungary and Poland. There the threat of open borders is understood. Nothing new here, the same thing happened centuries ago when the Western Empire of the Romans fell precisely because of unchecked immigration, sloth and the demise of the fighting spirit among the so-called elites. History is a cycle and the Brits are in for a bad turn.

    1. Muslim agitators will exploit these laws, but the motor of them is the professional-managerial class notion that only peers have free speech. Subaltern population have as much free speech as their social betters will grant them.

      1. TSD:
        It’s Frankenstein’s monster. The well-heeled class’ sense of control over the followers of the prophet is an illusion. Just ask the Shah of Iran’s remaining family.

        1. Come again? The regime in Iran consisted of the Royal Family, the military, the security services, and the Shah’s client network. They’d lost huge slices of the intelligentsia and the professional-managerial element. The haut bourgeois in Iran congenial to the new regime discovered the hard way that characters like Kareem Sanjabi and Mehdi Bazargan were expendable and the Persian versions of Oliver Cromwell were in charge.

      2. you make a good point. there are important class dynamics at work in many complicated ways in these things

        maybe, many petit bourgeoisie are afraid to point out the class dynamics for fear that they will betray their precarious class position.

        they think, oh, it’s only chavs that talk that way, I don’t want anyone to think i am a chav, even though in truth my economic situation is no better than the skinhead.

        but, maybe if i just suck up to the powers that be, i will be elevated!

        I think there is a similar dynamic in America when it comes to Trump. those who are keen to upwardly mobiliize themselves, adopt the manners of the apparatchiks, and carefully do not affiliate with the concerns of native born working folks who voted for the “bigoted, misogynistic” Trump.

  11. So, the South Yorkshire desk sergeants do not have enough to do? Crime is down? They have too many police people?

    1. See Theodore Dalrymple. The creepy police services have place public CCTV cameras all over the place in Britain, but the courts refuse to punish criminals. So what the cameras do is allow the state to spy on ordinary people.

  12. Britain has never had “free speech” in the American sense. Still, they seem to muddle through…

    1. No, they’ve never had entrenched clauses in British law. They’ve certainly had free speech. The one exception has been prosecution for misappropriation of state secrets, something that’s been functionally limited to public employees over here (and pretty unusual even in that circumstance).

      1. here the newspapers have a special privilege that nobody else does to print classified materials., it’s remarkable scope of freedom, kind of like a system where you can buy drugs but not sell them. and used to conduct much mischief. i really don’t know of any country that goes as far as our does in the line of the Pentagon papers sort of thing.

    2. Brilliant Benson implies that freedom of speech is a very bad idea and that natural and God-given rights don’t permeate the universe,

      including Britain.

      Next thing, he’ll tell you that women need to drive in Saudi Arabia.

      What a ——- —–!

    3. “I just asked 4 freshmen…”

      “Now Washington state has quite a decent public school system and WSU students come from the upper ranks of their graduating classes.”

      – David B. Benson

      So, Benson, you are a parasitic public worker living off of the public dole? Who’d a thunk? Help me out here.

      Can you pay taxes with taxes? Is it possible for workers paid with collected tax dollars to pay taxes with the tax dollars they just received? Can one pay taxes with taxes? So you don’t actually pay taxes, right?

      Should a public worker who is paid by elected officials be allowed to vote for those elected officials?

      Now you understand why the American Founders gave Americans a “…republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin.

      A republic is not one man, one vote democracy; it is representative governance “…in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote.”

      The American Founders intended for criteria to be met by voters.

      I doubt being on the public dole is a criterion.
      Merriam Webster


      b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law

      1. George: yes I think there is an excellent argument to be made that government employees should be disallowed from voting while they hold the privilege of public employment. And it goes without saying, employees of the taxpayers should not be allowed, let alone think themselves “entitled,” to collective bargaining to extort more money out of the taxpayers for whom they allegedly work, in order to buy the politicians, to give them yet more of the taxpayers’ money, with which to buy the politicians ….

  13. “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

    – Isoroku Yamamoto

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