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No role for Police in culture wars

Dear Spurtle,

You report in the October issue (p.1) that Police followed a protestor who had held up a blank placard at the royal funeral procession, in order to 'prevent possible disorder'.

The suggestion that this was a potential Everard incident seems extreme; was this not simply the latest incident in a long line of Police mis-steps which only show how difficult they find it to police freedom of expression with anything approaching nuance?  

What's interesting is that, previously, the Police seemed to have been recruited into the culture wars to serve solely on the side of the woke and the perenially-offended. The legal action against the owner of a Nazi-saluting dog; the recording of a 'non-crime hate incident' against the Home Secretary in 2017; Police attendance at a man's workplace to 'check his thinking' after a poor joke on Twitter; last week's threat that 'misgendering' a convicted paedophile who now identifies as a woman would be treated as a hate crime - are among many examples. The to-do around funeral placards seems like a long-awaited taste of the same medicine.  

Perhaps now we can all agree that policing potential thought-crimes of whatever political hue (or indeed simple rudeness and bad behaviour) is no role for the Police.

Caroline Roussot