CHARLES GRAHAM - Cry foul over bad language ruling

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DIXON of Dock Green would be spinning in his grave.

An Appeal Court judge this week quashed a public order conviction given to a man who constantly used the f-word while being searched for drugs by police.

Overturning Denzel Harvey’s conviction, Mr Justice Bean said that foul language was heard by officers “all too frequently for them to be offended anymore.”

The issue has since divided the country with some saying expletives are now such a part of some people’s vocabulary that they are used unconsciously and even without the intent to offend.

Others, myself included, fear this subsidence to a new low in respect for authority figures just gives any potty-mouthed oik free rein to abuse officers who already have a hard enough job enforcing law and order in sometimes tinderbox situations.

There is a time and a place for swearing (as a much missed senior Wigan clergyman used to say to me). So it is in fact all about context.

Swear with your mates if they are all right about it; don’t swear in front of children or when you are in a situation when you should be showing respect for authority or someone might be upset by it. Easy.

One wonders how Mr Justice Bean would react if everyone in his court were effing and jeffing at each other.