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Is It OK To Swear At Police?
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Is It OK to Swear at Police?

“Overturning Denzel Cassius Harvey's conviction, Mr Justice Bean said officers were so regularly on the receiving end of the "rather commonplace" expletive that it was unlikely to cause them "harassment, alarm or distress". “

UK High Court judge Mr Justice Bean ruled that it is not an offense to use foul words when speaking to police officers as they are used to it so they can’t feel offended. I personally seriously think this decision is wrong as it simply sends out the message that you can swear at police officers as much as you like as they can’t do anything about it. In everyday life it will mean that most suspects caught by police will use foul language and police officers will face verbal assaults more often. I don't think that this is right. It will have damaging consequences on the level of respect Police have. And it will make everyday life on the front line of policing more difficult.

This case happened in the UK where police officers don’t carry fire arms. They wear protective bulletproof vests and some have electric teasers. The rest of their protection is down to the law. Therefore I think it does matter if we undermine the respect towards Police by letting people freely use garbage language when speaking to police officers. If verbally assaulting police officers is now legal, what will be the next step?

Foul language is a part of any language. If you study a foreign language, you have to deal with this topic as well. There are special dictionaries related to this topic on the market and these are probably the best source for learning if you do not have a native speaker available. I am not saying you have to use such words or phrases, but it is useful to know the meaning of the most common ones.

As a practicing police and court interpreter, I had to face the question of what to do when my client used foul language. If I wouldn’t interpret it the client would look sweet and innocent even though every second word they were saying was actually f***. These things are seriously important in criminal proceedings. Imagine the statement from a victim of domestic violence. These cases are really nasty and full of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is abuse and abuse is an offense. The only way to deal with such language is to interpret what was said. Which means you have to learn such parts of a foreign language to be able to understand it and deliver what was said correctly.

I do believe that no one actually wishes to be sworn at on daily basis. Employees of hospitals or similar services are all protected by law against verbal assault so why not police? Just because they have to face it every day? Sorry, that doesn't work for me!


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