The aim of the Reform-Section-5-Campaign, – supported by “Mr. Bean”, see video below), - is the removal of the word “insulting” from section 5 of Public Order Act 1986, according to which it is an offence to:
“use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour” or to display “any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting” within the hearing or sight of a person “likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”.
The public order act, however, has become a licence for the harassment of ordinary citizens:
Section 5 has been used to:
- a British National Party member who displayed anti-Islamic posters in his window.
- arrest and/or prosecute (for example) religious campaigners against homosexuality.
- Police charged a teenager branding Scientology as a cult..
According to official sources, the Government is “considering all views and will respond “in due course”, and there just may be some hope, as – according to a poll of MPs early in 2012, – a majority of the 154 respondents agreed that the word insulting should be removed from section 5.