Starmer boost for free speech campaigners

A LAW banning “insulting” language and behaviour could be safely scrapped, the Director of Prosecutions said yesterday in a boost to free-speech campaigners.

Keir Starmer said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had changed its stance on cutting the word from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Campaigners said he had effectively removed the Home Secretary’s “chief excuse” for resisting the change – that it would prevent people being prosecuted for swearing at police officers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Section 5 outlaws the use of “insulting words or behaviour” but opponents say there is too little clarity of what that includes, leading to spurious arrests.

One teenager was arrested for holding a “Scientology is a dangerous cult” placard, campaigners say.

Mr Starmer signalled the switch from the CPS in a letter to former West Midlands chief constable Lord Dear, who is seeking a law change in the Lords this week.