We have written to the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police following the uproar over their inclusion of a message on the side of a van in the Wirral that was supposed to express the police’s solidarity with LGBTQI+ community: “Being offensive is an offence.” It isn’t, obviously, and when their error was pointed out Merseyside Police at least had the good grace to issue an apology. We have asked the Chief Constable to explain how his force got the law so badly wrong and why his officers are apparently ignorant of their legal obligation to safeguard freedom of expression. We have also asked him to confirm that Merseyside Police have not interviewed or arrested anyone merely for the imaginary crime of being offensive. We know from FOI requests submitted by the press that police forces in England and Wales investigated 120,000 non-crime hate incidents in the past five years. That is an average of more than 65 a day. Have Merseyside Police investigated other non-crimes as well, such as the non-crime of saying something offensive?
We will publish his reply beneath this letter as soon as we receive it.