Friday, 25 March 2011

Disruption at a council meeting

There was a disruption to the Morecambe Town Council meeting last Thursday. I read in the local newspaper that two police community support officers arrived and asked a member of the public to leave. According to the chairman this person "made allegations about us being crooks". On the other hand the member of the public said that the council had no respect for democracy.

The bottom line for the police was that there was no breach of the peace as he was not being abusive. They had been called for disruption but "he was simply expressing his right to freedom of speech".

It may just be the way that it was reported, but if someone is asked to do something by a PCSO then I think it should be done. I am not a lawyer but I am sure that there is room for debate about the law on freedom of speech. Are you allowed to insult someone? Are you allowed to call someone a crook? If you think the word crook is mild then make the word a little more offensive and keep doing that until you decide that words alone may be abusive. Perhaps I should observe the next council meeting.

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