Salman Rushdie famously said that without the freedom to offend, free speech doesn’t exist.

If the Plod are to be believed, then there is indeed no freedom of speech in Britain any more.

Merseyside Police has apologised for claiming “being offensive is an offence” as part of a campaign to encourage people to report hate crime.

I find that offensive. Does this mean that the police themselves have committed an offence?

If I’m offended by this sign, have the police committed an offense? The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

The force came under fire over the weekend after the message appeared on a billboard in Wirral.

It has since clarified that while hate crime is an offence, “being offensive is not in itself an offence”.

A spokesman added the poster was “well intentioned” by the local policing team in Wirral but it was “incorrect”.

In reality, it was neither. Criminalising free speech is never “well intentioned”: it’s a deliberate attempt by the state to control the free expression and, by extension, the thoughts of its citizens. In other words, “offence”-policing rozzers are Thought Police.

The BFD. Thought police. Photoshopped image credit Boondecker

The claim to be “incorrect” is also disingenuous: as the UK police’s own definition makes clear. Simply being offensive is indeed a crime in Britain today. British police define as “hate crime” any offence “perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone”.

The message on the billboard sparked criticism over whether being offensive constituted a crime.

It was widely condemned on social media, with one person describing it as “chilling” while another called it a “horrible look”.

Merseyside Police said it “apologises for any confusion this may have caused,” adding “hate crime is an offence and will not be tolerated”.

In other words, anyone can merely claim to be “offended”, or the police can take it upon themselves to decide if something was “offensive” and, presto! “Hate crime”. So, aside from any crime committed, a purely arbitrary claim of “offensiveness” by itself defines a new class of crime.

The coppers’ deceit doesn’t stop there.

In October, it was reported how 105,090 hate crimes had been recorded by the police in England and Wales, excluding Greater Manchester Police, in the year ending March 2020.


A startling claim – but one which is entirely the result of shifting goalposts. The previous standard, the Crime survey for England and Wales (CSEW) actually shows a steady decline in “hate crime”. That won’t do at all, huffs offense-seeking Mr. Plod. So the coppers just changed their definitions and expanded their recording.

As always, those who go looking to be offended will never be short of something to be offended about.

And that’s an offense.

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Don’t Be Offensive in Britain

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...