The submission calls on the Government to recognise that the word 'insulting' sets the bar for criminal offence far too low. The risk of being arrested can in itself have a chilling effect, preventing people from expressing legitimate views. Section 5 would retain threatening and abusive conduct to cover serious offences and there are other existing laws to protect the individual. . . Read complete article here.
Independently of this an epetition has been filed on HM Government website:-
Protect Freedom of Speech by removing the word "insulting" from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
Responsible department: Home Office
Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 forbids the use of "insulting words or behaviour" in a public place, if this is "likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress". This provision has been responsible for a number of arrests in recent years. For instance, Leicestershire trader Tony Wright found himself arrested in 2005 for selling T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Bollocks to Blair". In 2008, a 16 year old boy was arrested for calling Scientology a "dangerous cult". In addition, members of a Worcester based animal rights group found themselves arrested in 2006 for using toy seals painted with red food dye as part of a protest against seal culling. Moreover, Oxford University student Sam Brown was arrested in 2005 for saying to a police officer “Mate, your horse is gay, I hope you don’t have a problem with that.” Feeling “insulted” should never constitute a crime by itself. Therefore, we the undersigned petition the government to remove the word "insulting" from Section 5.
A good response to this petition will provide added pressure on the government to revise this ill -conceived section of the Public Order Act.
Please go to:- http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/222 to sign the petition.