If you go down to the nature park today...
12 May 2018, 20:54 | Updated: 12 May 2018, 20:59
West Yorkshire Police have been boasting online about a drugs bust on their patch. It is nice that they have the time to have a social media presence.
Many forces are so short-staffed that they will not turn out for a burglary or car theft, so the people of West Yorkshire are very lucky to have such well-resourced force.
Unfortunately, on-line comments are not always complimentary, which this force found to its cost.
Officers posted a picture of a piece of green vegetable matter that they had confiscated from a person in a car.
It was not the substance itself that gave rise to ridicule, it was the amount that was the source of amusement.
The evidence bag triumphantly pictured on Facebook held about a thumbprint's worth, which lead to much anonymous merriment.
Comments that were posted included, but were not limited to: “You're a clown”, “that's put a dent in the war on drugs”, “all the crime going on...haven't they got anything better to do” - that sort of thing.
Naturally, being hardened policepersons, that was all water off a duck’s back to them.
Just kidding – they were so upset that they threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone that made fun of them.
Police Inspector Martin Moizer's Facebook post read “***Cannabis Seized***”, ‘PCSO 687 Ian Campbell and PCSO 882 Ben Hughes attended Walton colliery nature park and seized a small quantity of Cannabis from a young man who was parked up alone. Walton Colliery nature park will be firmly on our patrol plan in the future to prevent this behaviour.’
That nature park sounds like a right den of iniquity. Are the pigeons safe?
The inspector subsequently posted this message, 'Unfortunately we have had to ban a number of people from using this page today.
'I would like to remind everyone that this is a police page and whatever your thoughts on one of my officers seizing drugs in the community, being insulting, abusive or offensive can and will result in a prosecution under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.'
That seems a bit thin-skinned. It is the sort of reaction that the right-wing press would call the words of a snowflake, if it had been uttered by a student, for instance.
PCI Moizer said that his officers would 'not overlook the significant harm that illegal drugs cause to our communities.'
I suspect that the harm done by marijuana in the community is because it is illegal, which leads to the stabbings and shootings and gang warfare that we read about on a daily basis which is dealers competing for territory.
It rakes in hundreds of millions of pounds a year, all of which is going to the criminals, apart from the coin sized piece that the West Yorkshire Police got hold of.
That's safe in the evidence room, unless it isn't.
It was so small it could easily get lost.
The same force also suffered internet mockery for posting a photo of two crates of Strongbow cider they seized from youths.
One person wrote on their website: 'Good policing but sure more effort should be focusing on searching for knives and offensive weapons rather than a few kids with some cider!'
That amounts to a hate crime against the force for which you could be prosecuted.
Your right to free speech is trumped by other's rights to not be offended.
It's the law.