Wednesday 20 February 2019

UK cops guilty of some truly criminal stupidity

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Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

There is a very handy rule of thumb which suggests that if you give someone power they haven't earned, they will always, always abuse it.

We see it in this country all the time - throw a hi-viz vest on some people and they will become their own little dictators, basking in the aura of authority that apparently comes with looking like a lemon sherbet.

This desire to inflict your own authority on other people isn't an intrinsic part of human nature, but it is an intrinsic part of some humans' nature - the desire to be obeyed.

It's this character failing which means you should never trust anyone who would volunteer for jury duty, for example, and we've all known people who long for an excuse to wag their fingers at everyone else.

But not for the first time, a bunch of cops in the UK have truly excelled themselves.

A democracy is meant to have a police force, not a thought-police force, yet the South Yorkshire rozzers have come up with an absolute classic of the genre - they want people to report things that aren't even a crime.

In one of those incidents which remind you to never, ever trust anyone with a uniform, officers have urged people to "please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments online, in person or in writing".

Now offence is in the beholder, but so apparently is the law, because according to these new Kafka-esque guidelines, this non-crime offence is "anything perceived to be motivated by prejudice or hostility".

Which is ultimately everything that isn't a compliment, I suppose.

The rather wonderful thing about such obvious idiocy is that the cops involved in coming up with this idea - and I bet no average cop-on-the-street came up with it - have now complained that they themselves have become the target of 'hate' because so many people have taken to Twitter to absolutely, royally, take the mickey out of them.

In fact, further proving O'Doherty's law that the more senior the uniform, the duller the brain, South Yorkshire Police have warned people that they are "liable to prosecution" if they continue to take the piss.

It's easy to laugh - well, there's no other option, really - but this is just the thin end of the wedge. Whether here or in the UK, there is a growing desire to police people's thoughts. Now, if you don't mind, some people were mean about me on Twitter this week, so I'm off to make a complaint.

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