We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Alert: police in Britain seek man for exercising free speech

If you see the man shown in this article, please do not inform the Police of his whereabouts.

But do tell the bloke, who it must be said may well be a low IQ scumbag who likes to insult strangers on a bus, that he is quite mistaken if he thinks people in the UK have a right to freedom of expression. That is not the case, for it is only politically approved speech that passes a Guardian/BBC sniff test that is permitted. Mutter the wrong things on a bus and you are likely to end up in front of the Beak, with your arrest applauded by those valiant custodians of truth, the Press.

39 comments to Alert: police in Britain seek man for exercising free speech

  • Ian Bennett

    It would be nice to know exactly what he said. Then, we could say exactly the same, but substituting Christianity, Judaism, Pastafarianism, etc, and await the consequences, if any.

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

  • Mr Ed

    please do not inform the Police of his whereabouts.

    Wot ‘av we ‘ere then, an attempt to obstruct a constable in the execution of his duty…?

    (2)Any person who resists or wilfully obstructs a constable in the execution of his duty, or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, or to both.

  • DP

    Dear Mr de Havilland

    When such complaints are made, the words objected to ought to be reported in full.

    This will allow all sensible people to have a good laugh.

    @Mr Ed January 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I believe you have to be in the presence of said constable or person assisting him or her, in order to commit an obstruction.


  • Mr Ed

    DP, the CPS charging standards might indicate a different approach.

    warning a landlord that the police are to investigate after hours drinking;
    warning that a police search of premises is to occur;
    giving a warning to other motorists of a police speed trap ahead;

  • Perchance you see this person in public, DO NOT immediately inform the authorities. Do not inform them at all. They’ll thank you for sparing them the paperwork. This person is potentially dangerous, armed as he is with a mouth and a wooly cap.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, I don’t read that statute as imposing an affirmative duty on anyone’s part to notify the constabulary of the whereabouts of a wanted person. The prohibition is merely against interfering with the investigation.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Better yet, report every person you see who looks like this man. It’ll keep the police busy and out of trouble, and possibly give them a learning experience. It’ll certainly give one to all the people who look like him.

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, the element of interfering might arise if someone who might otherwise have informed the police did not do so after reading this article, thereby the police might have been obstructed in the execution of their duty. This section has led to convictions where a motorist warns other drivers of a police speed trap by flashing his headlights, even if no one was actually speeding and slowed down as a consequence, and that has been upheld on appeal.

    This post might be like someone warning a landlord and punters that the police are to investigate after-hours drinking. A period of discretion might conceal the guilty past.

    Therefore, by stopping or preventing an offence being committed, you might commit an offence in England and Wales, if the police are after the offender. I wonder what they would say if they asked ‘Why didn’t you intervene to stop the pensioner being robbed as the police were 100 yards away and you were right there?‘ the riposte of ‘I might have obstructed you in your duty of catching a mugger if I prevented the robbery from taking place.‘.

    If you are thinking something like ‘But this is not law, it is absurd‘ then I agree.

  • Fred the Fourth

    I am speechless.

  • I am speechless.

    No need to worry about getting arrested then!

  • Laird, the element of interfering might arise if someone who might otherwise have informed the police did not do so after reading this article, thereby the police might have been obstructed in the execution of their duty.

    I would truly dearly love for the Plod to come knock on my door on that basis.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I believe it is illegal at least in the Minor State of Illinois to flash your headlights at oncoming drivers to warn them of a radar-wielding cop whom you just passed.

    On the other hand, if the idea of issuing tickets for speeding is to remind drivers that there is a speed limit (on the theory that to exceed it is generally unsafe), then why complain when the mere threat of getting a ticket is enough to slow them down?

  • Laird

    As I recall, the law in the US is mixed: some states make flashing your lights to warn of a speed trap illegal, but in most that’s not the case (it’s a free speech issue). I accept Mr Ed’s description of British law on that subject. I guess we’re just different (one notable difference being the absence of any analog to our First Amendment).

    But that was not my point. I see nothing in either the statute nor the Charging Standards he linked which imposes an affirmative obligation on anyone to go to the police just because you’ve seen someone who is on a wanted list. Warning him that the police are after him is obstruction; merely remaining silent is not. “Might otherwise have informed the police” is purely speculative. It is not a standard and can impose no duty.

  • Paul Marks

    We live in sad times.

  • John Galt III

    Just quote Ayahs freely from the Quran and Hadith about killing Jews. That should do it.

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, there is absolutely no positive duty to tell thr police, except in relation to terrorism matters, where a specific offence has been created, and is used to round up family members etc.

    Here ir may be that telling Mr X not to tell the police about the suspect might get Plod to say that had Mr X done so, you might have obstructed them. In this country, a student got arrested for calling a police horse ‘gay’. ‘Horse’ as in Kentucky Derby, the Grand National etc. he faced no charges in the end, but that is the mentality of many in the police.

  • Rob

    The purpose of a speed trap is to reduce speed, yes? So if you warn drivers of it they will slow down, so the speed trap has fulfilled its purpose.

    Unless of course that is not its purpose, but is instead intended to catch as many people as possible and fine them, but the police have denied that this is true so we can discount that explanation.

  • 18 years and counting

    Fred IV: “I am speechless”

    That’s exactly what they want.

  • Mr Ed

    Yet another contrived crime in Wales (and England, the law is the same)

    A Tesco customer has been given a 12-month community order after changing the display image of a demonstration iPad to a pornographic photo.


  • jdm

    Weird, the guy looks, to me, a lot like Bill Maher.

  • The whole purpose of speed limits is to generate revenue. That’s all. Ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars can somehow exceed speed limits and not be subjected to metaphysical retribution or break the sound barrier and disintegrate. You, the private driver, however, can jeopardize pedestrians or droves of sheep or cattle ducks if you go one mph or kph over the posted limit. And there’ll always be a cop hidden somewhere waiting to fill his daily quota of tickets so he can buy a holiday turkey or a new flat wall screen when he’s awarded a bonus by his department. At least, that’s how it works here in the States.

  • JohnW

    I expect the state will kidnap his children as they did with Emma West.

  • That’s only if the cops find him. And how many of his look-alikes are riding buses in Britain? Quite a few hundred thousand, I should guess.

  • What I meant to say above is that if you exceed the speed limit and potentially jeopardize the lives of cows, sheep, school children, and ducks, and you get pulled over, it will be especially teeth-gritting when there isn’t a cow, sheep, school kid, or duck in sight. Not for a mile or more. In those instances, cops behave like students of Kant; they’ll tell you it’s your categorically imperative duty to observe the speed limit, regardless of the presence or proximity of the hypothetically endangered species. And if you foul-mouth Muslims, the filthy Romish, or ignorant Poles, then it’s your imperative duty to keep such thoughts to yourself, lest you audibly offend someone. Better yet, to not think such thoughts.

  • I hope I can at least “foul-mouth” ignorant English people too. But I must say all the Poles I know are not at all ignorant.

  • I was referring to “Polish” jokes. I could just as well have instanced Slavs or the Letts. Or blacks or any other ethnic or national group one may harbor a bee in one’s bonnet about. Or even to ugly people– the photogenically-challenged, to be PC about it. Today, Jerry Seinfeld would not be able to get away with a crack like this one, in response to someone’s assertion that all people are beautiful: “Have you been the DMV recently? (the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, to obtain drivers licenses). It’s a leper colony down there!” One reason, I think, that Seinfeld retired from the business is that most of what he had to say is now off-limits.

  • CaptDMO

    Am I to understand that the “offender” didn’t suffer a regular series of “just a little pop on the nose”, or some other abrupt Negative reinforcement, DIRECTLY associated with the behavior deemed “anti-social”?
    Where are all these “Chavs” and hooligans that I heard about (up to) 10-15 years ago?
    Did they “grow up” to be metropolitan bohemian fanny boys?

  • Fred the Fourth

    Perry: If I am to be arrested for mouthing off to les flics / officer plod / the pig, I am going to do it in the good old US of A where my speech rights remain untrammeled, nay, pristine as the new fallen snow.
    In other news, my new car is powered by a perpetuum mobile.
    (Why does this sh*t have to come down, always, just when I am planning a voyage across the pond? Who’s in charge of planning in the EU anyway? I hear planning is a big deal there.)

  • staghounds

    Yes, Maher.

    Actually this article is more indicative of the sad state of things than the fact that the man is “sought”, because we can’t know the secret naughty words- the rag is afraid to print them He may have said things we’d all agree are properly criminal- imminent personal threats, maybe.
    I’ve got a knife,you Moslem, and I’m going to cut your throat when this bus stops.” With a free press, the newspaper can report (true, as often as not inaccurately) the actual words and we could know them.

    But for all we know, the man said “Does it violate the tenets of Islam to give water to someone dying of thirst in the desert immediately during daylight, even if it is during Ramadan? It seems to me there is a conflict between the duties of fasting and hospitality.”

    We’re not just not allowed to criticise, we’d better not even discuss. Safer to talk about last night’s football.

  • Richard Thomas

    I am speechless.

    No need to worry about getting arrested then!

    but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.

  • Richard Thomas

    Rob, I actually suspect that the purpose is to remind you who is the boss.

  • “A Tesco customer has been given a 12-month community order after changing the display image of a demonstration iPad to a pornographic photo.”

    I normally leave them on the Samizdata home page.

  • Mr Ed


    I first read that as leaving a porno photo on the Samizdata home page, much to my concern, now I see your meaning. That’s probably a 24-month community order for creating an offensive environment to wimmen, inciting disaffection in a constable or sending a malicious communication, or life for creating a public nuisance (well, after the General Election anyway).

  • Sceptical Antagonist

    Mr Ed, regarding your first post in this thread:

    …”or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty, shall be guilty of an offence”

    I had to read it a few times before I realised it didn’t mean what I initially thought it did.

    Isn’t grammar a wonderful thing?

  • Mr Ed

    This may be broken clock right twice a day, but the Chief Constable of Durham has suggested that the answer to 3 students drowning in the river Wear at Durham over 14 months is not more police officers or fences, but actually students not getting shit-faced and taking responsibility for being in control of themselves.

    A student hack is disappointed.

  • Sceptical Antagonist

    The hack said, “there are definite hot spots, where it is extremely dangerous even to a sober person”.

    So how many sober people have died there in the last fourteen months?

    It makes a nice change for the police to be showing a bit of common’.

  • Nicholas (Natural Genius) Gray

    Fred, congrats on the new car! Is it really a perpetual motion machine- I thought physicists had outlawed them?
    How many kilometers per mobile do you get? Please, tell us more!

  • Sceptical Antagonist



    My point, albeit badly made, was that if the law itself is badly written and ambiguous, how does that help us adhere to it, and surely it lets law enforcement get away with interpreting the rules any way they see fit?