I’m indebted to the website Crimebodge, that doughty foe of dishonest police officers for this latest bit of information. The police seem to be spending an awful lot of time and resources dealing with people who are merely being offensive to one another. The amount of time and resources directed at this sort of guff is probably to the detriment of that sort of regular and necessary policing activities that any civilised society needs to have. On top of that it appears that there is a new and apparently illegal trick that the police are pulling in order to get arrests for these crimes where there is no provable damage done or where false complaints have been made to police.
According to Crimebodge the police are arresting people under protection from harassment legislation as part of Road Traffic Act stops, which in the opinion of the writer of the Crimebodge piece, is illegal. The police seem to be nicking people under ‘protection from harassment’ legislation, not because they are dangerous stalkers, but merely because an individual may have said the ‘wrong’ thing on social media or because the person concerned had been falsely accused of something by someone who they are engaged with in a dispute.
The vast majority of harassment allegations are spiteful accusations made by one half of a warring party in an attempt to smart bomb their enemy into submission. All they need do is call up the police, claim that their enemy has contacted them with a message, text, phone call, visit, verbal remark or letter they didn’t like and hey presto! The police cavalry will magically arrive. Usually clutching a harassment notice warning them not to do it again (or Police Information Notice as they are more cryptically known). That way, if your foe makes the mistake of doing the thing – that in all probability he didn’t do the first time – again, the police will arrest him for harassment. Doesn’t matter how polite or civilised the communication is, if it’s unwanted and has occurred more than once, the police might take steps to arrest you.
The fact that an oversized chunk of ‘valuable police resources’ is already wasted on criminalising people for the heinous offence of ‘hurting somebody’s feelings’ doesn’t deter the police one bit. Particularly officers in some forces (the Metropolitan police being the worst offender) who are partial to pulling up the registration numbers of those accused of harassment and adding them onto ANPR camera databases (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). That way, if you make an idiotic Tweet or send a regrettable e-mail before going to bed, the police can snag you first thing in the morning on your way to work, drag you from your car, arrest you and seize your vehicle.
Unfortunately this is the sort of shitbaggery behaviour that is coming to characterise the British policing system. Although there are many officers who are fine, decent and upstanding, there are also a great many others who overstep the mark and take appear to take pleasure in going after the low hanging fruit these sort of ‘respect muh feeeeelings’ cases represent, instead of getting on with the job that we pay police officers for, such as stopping gangs of Muslim men raping kids for example.
The interesting thing about these sort of traffic stops is they are apparently illegal.
The police do not have powers to enter vehicles to arrest for non-traffic related, summary offences
The reason they are snaring suspected offenders on the road in this way, rather than in their homes, is because the police know they have no powers to barge into people’s homes to arrest them for trivial offences – aka summary offences aka non-indictable crimes.
Section 17 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act affords us all protection from such heavy handed abuses of state intrusion by granting police powers of entry for indictable (more serious) offences only:
Section 17 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)
Subject to the following provisions of this section, and without prejudice to any other enactment, a constable may enter and search any premises for the purpose.
(i)a warrant of arrest issued in connection with or arising out of criminal proceedings; or
(ii)a warrant of commitment issued under section 76 of the M1Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980;
(b)of arresting a person for an indictable offence;
If the police turn up at your door and insist you let them in because they want to arrest you for non violent harassment, common assault, sending offensive messages, public disorder, anti-social behaviour or any other number of paltry statutory offences the legislators reign down on us each year like confetti, you have every right to tell the police to leave. They cannot force entry simply to arrest you for a summary offence. If they could they would be kicking our doors down and dragging us from our beds each time we dropped a piece of litter or failed to send our children to school.
Typically though, the police don’t think Section 17 of PACE applies to them, despite the statute naming them specifically in the title. They also think the word ‘premises’ only applies to houses, and that the moment someone gets into their vehicle and drives on a public road, they are fair game. Well the police are wrong. Your vehicle is classed as premises too
Crimebodge went on to detail how the same Police and Criminal Evidence Act classifies vehicles as ‘premises’ and therefore the police have no right of entry to a vehicle to arrest someone under the ‘Protection from Harassment Act’.
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Part II – Supplementary – Section 23
In this Act—
“premises” includes any place and, in particular, includes—
(a) any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or hovercraft;
(b) any offshore installation;
(ba) [any renewable energy installation;] (c) any tent or movable structure;
You can read the rest of this most excellent and informative article by clicking on the link below. I would certainly read the whole article as my excerpts from it really don’t do it justice. It seems that whether you are in your home or in your car the correct response to the police turning up on your and wanting to ‘talk’ to you about a Facebook post that someone found ‘offensive’ is to tell the officers to politely ‘go forth and multiply’