Swearing at police 'not an offence'
Published 25/06/2011 | 23:56
Police have been ordered not to arrest people who subject them to abuse, it has been revealed.
Scotland Yard has told its officers that bad language on its own is not a good enough reason to detain someone.
The guidance has been given on Justify, Account and Record memo cards, which are carried on patrol.
According to The Mail on Sunday the advice states: "The courts do not accept police officers are caused harassment, alarm or distress by words such as: f***, c***, b*****ks, w*****s."
It also informs officers that to place someone in handcuffs "for officer safety" is "not sufficient" and "we can handcuff anyone but we must be able to justify it".
A spokesman for the Met was unable to confirm the exact date the guidance was issued, but said the cards had been in use "for several years".
He added: "The Metropolitan Police Service issues officers with a memo card providing useful guidance on the execution of their powers.
"This includes advice regarding appropriate note taking and ensuring that they have appropriate grounds for an arrest.
"In particular it reminds them that the courts do not accept that simply swearing at a police officer is grounds for an arrest and illustrates how the MPS has had to make settlements in the past when officers have arrested solely for this."