UK Cops Threaten Facebook Users With Arrest After They Mock Department's Tiny Drug Bust

from the small-minds-with-smaller-ideas dept

Thickness of skin appears to be inversely proportional to the amount of power one has. This has been shown again and again. It often makes high-powered “victims” appears as though the only reason they entered public service was to punish the public for its lack of respect. The lesson never learned is that abuse of power never results in a respect net gain.

Because this lesson is seemingly impossible to learn, we get things like this. The West Yorkshire Police proudly announced the smallest of drug busts on its Facebook page.

***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.

For this, it was mocked. And rightfully so! Who cares if you busted some dude with his personal stash of weed? Good for you, I guess, but the general public is mostly of the opinion this should be legal and seldom finds enforcement of laws it doesn’t agree with grounds for commendation. This should have come as no surprise to the West Yorkshire Police.

Instead of doing nothing, the Police did this. (h/t Alex Griswold)

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.

We will not overlook the significant harm that illegal drugs cause to our communities. We know from experience that this can progress from using what are perceived to be recreational drugs to more addictive and harmful substances and the resulting criminality used to fund their continued use.

Please use this page with respect or you will be banned and maybe even prosecuted

Police Inspector Martin Moizer.

First off, the Police did not “have” to ban anybody from the page. The mockery could have laid beside the accolades as an object lesson about interacting with the public re: pitifully small drug busts announced with the same gravity as the apprehension of an armed robbery suspect. (“firmly in our patrol plan” lol)

Second, fuck you. That law isn’t there to protect the powerful from the powerless. But when you craft a law that can be used this way, it guarantees it WILL be used this way. And the law doesn’t say what the law enforcement officer says it does (SHOCKER). It actually says this act is illegal:

Offence of sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety.

If any officers were distressed or anxious because locals dragged them a bit for peacocking their tiny pot bust, they’re in the wrong field of work. Facebook commenters pale in comparison to the invective routinely hurled at officers during the course of the day, often delivered in person by someone on the receiving end of an arrest. And that’s even less anxiety-raising or distressing than the sticks-and-stones equivalents (knives, mostly) suspects might bring to bear against officers of the law. “Words may never hurt me,” say the police, as they seek to use others people’s words to hurt them.

Finally, there’s the idiotic claim about gateway drug use, one that has been repeatedly found false. Busting people for smoking weed in a park isn’t going to do anything to stop the trafficking of harder drugs or the “resulting criminality” involved in their distribution. Not only is the West Yorkshire Police willing to abuse a law to silence critics, it also wants everyone to believe they reside in a magical dystopia where minor pot busts in a nature park somehow accomplishes something of value to society as a whole.

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Comments on “UK Cops Threaten Facebook Users With Arrest After They Mock Department's Tiny Drug Bust”

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64 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“Thickness of skin appears to be inversely proportional to the amount of power one has. This has been shown again and again. It often makes high-powered “victims” appears as though the only reason they entered public service was to punish the public for its lack of respect. The lesson never learned is that abuse of power never results in a respect net gain.”

Says a website dedicated to advancing the notion of government controlled economy and regulatory agency.

At what point will this place recognize that the same mentality that advocates this is the same mentality that advocates that? If you want government to you control, this is what you get. World history is right there at your fingertips. There is not end to the “we must do this for your own good” politics. And each time it was started off by a group of citizens saying “there ought to be a law”.

Be careful what you wish for… you just might get it!

bob says:

Re: Re:

Says the troll to thin skinned to use a name.

At what point will this troll recognize that the same lack of critical reading and writing skills displayed through the false posts made, will result in a never ceasing mockery of the troll.

Be careful what you post, you might just remove all doubt of
your lack ofintelligence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Be careful what you post, you might just remove all doubt of
your lack ofintelligence.”

Ooohhh… witty come back friend. Is that the best “I know you are but what am I” retort you have?

Okay we can go with it.

But ask yourself this question. The governments of the world have slowly been doing more and more stuff that you have been asking, and the surveillance state has been getting worse and worse along with the steady increase of the wealth gap.

At what point does an intelligent person such as your self figure it out? I will be waiting friend!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The governments of the world have slowly been doing more and more stuff that you have been asking, and the surveillance state has been getting worse and worse along with the steady increase of the wealth gap.”

I did not ask for any of that crap, but you do not care because that would ruin your simple world view where everyone else is at fault but you. Is it lonely up there?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

My world view is only simple because if I get any more complex it will go over your head.

“I did not ask for any of that crap,”

You most certainly did, the problem is that you don’t know or understand how you went about asking for it.

Do you support the current NN rules? Then you asked for it.

The game of “i will protect you if you give me power to do it and usually payment soon after” has been played out all sorts of way in society, government, and economy. It is quite literally the most common basis for the formation of gangs!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

forget to add…

It is quite literally the most common basis for the formation of gangs AND the 2nd OLDEST PROFESSION after prostitution!

Because once mama was done whoring herself out she became a “Madam” for her daughters to whore themselves out.

Right now with NN, the politicians are “Madams” and ISP’s are the daughters and you are the customers catching all the STD’s and you pay for their services! capisce?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

oh no.. keep laughing you only help to prove my point that I made in my response to Mike.

It’s not that you are intelligent or anything, but I can rely on you to perform as needed when I state a fact a certain way. It goes to show how easy it is to get folks like to do what I want.

For you, it’s not ab out the truth, it’s about how the person goes about what they said. Which means you will buy a lie just as fast as the truth and with little question. Not only that, you will also participate in perpetrating that lie.

At least Mike recognized and stated that I DO support regulations in some situations. He was only being deceptive when he stated that no one was saying…

“Yet, no one then turns around and blatantly lies, accusing you of supporting “government control” in all cases.”

As I said down there… the problem is that people constantly lies and says I want 100% deregulation like you said.

Additionally, TD does support government control in all cases, that is what regulation in general is. I only support “government punishment” which is limited government “interference” which does allow “some control” but not nearly at the level or the mentality that the support for NN is creating.

I was very much liking the states reactions to the take down of NN which much more closely resembles what a free-market can do and yet you folks seem to be really against that!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Says a website dedicated to advancing the notion of government controlled economy and regulatory agency.

Every single freaking time you post this, I explain to you that this is wrong. And yet you post it again.

So, let’s do this AGAIN: we are not advocating for "government controlled economy" in any way at all. In fact, in nearly all cases, we advocate for less regulation and less government interference. In ONE SPECIFIC AREA, we advocate for LIMITED rules by the FCC to protect competition and an open internet. And we’ve explained why this is IN LINE with our general belief of keeping government out of the regulatory game:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171210/01533638775/free-market-argument-net-neutrality.shtml

You, yourself, has admitted that you TOO are fine with government regulation in some narrow cases, involving antitrust. Yet, no one then turns around and blatantly lies, accusing you of supporting "government control" in all cases.

So why the fuck do you continue to do that to us?

Stop it. Grow the fuck up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“So, let’s do this AGAIN: we are not advocating for “government controlled economy” in any way at all.”

Those are you “claims” yet you still support the NN rules, which clearly dictate that the FCC can pick and choose winners and losers based on how those rules get enforced.

NN needs to die so the cities and states will take action to fight incumbent ISP’s the way some are doing now. If NN comes back the fight against the monopolies will be lulled into a false peace. Toss NN, lets go for the throats of the ISP’s, you just want to bite their toes and ankles like a little yapping dog!

I fully admit that you guys have your “hearts are in the right place” but your brains are clearly out to lunch. We cannot “regulate” ourselves out of this… it is just not possible. We might be able to regulate ourselves into a better position and yes the current NN rules might do that, but I just am saying that is not even close to enough. It still allows the ISP’s to have their monopolies and fiefdoms, the ISP’s till get to keep all the money they yoinked out of everyone’s hands and they are still going to have the blessings of all those regulations that keep a very high barrier of entry to the market to prevent competition just like it did Google’s gigabit fiber.

“You, yourself, has admitted that you TOO are fine with government regulation in some narrow cases, involving antitrust. Yet, no one then turns around and blatantly lies, accusing you of supporting “government control” in all cases.

So why the fuck do you continue to do that to us?”

Yikes Mike, you are being clearly dishonest or misleading. The lie constantly perpetrated on me is the lie that I am for “100% total deregulation” by being anti-regulatory where corporations totally control and own everything.

In fact there is one of them in this very fucking thread!!!

“Apparently said poster would rather the corporations take over everything … opps – too late.”

Yes, I don’t have a problem with you believing that the NN rules are complimentary to Free-Market, but as much as you can believe that, you are just wrong.

Government control must be removed from the equation entirely. The ONLY part government should have is punishment. As long as the government get to “regulate” them as “natural monopolies” then we will never have free-market relief.

And this does not even get into the arbitrary enforcement of regulations that government already has a problem with.

Red Dev says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh, this twit again!

OH, this twit again!

“Those are you “claims” yet you still support the NN rules, which clearly dictate that the FCC can pick and choose winners and losers based on how those rules get enforced.”

Looks like toothless troll can’t even update his BS to make an argument. If he is not a troll, he is too dense to understand anything beyond 1 + 1 = 2, ether way he’s not worth a keystroke.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just how many ducts, pipes and wires into you property will you accepts to allow there to be competition in gas, water electricity, sewage and telecommunications services?

If you think at least one of those services need to be a regulated monopoly at the infrastructure level, then all of then need to be a regulated monopoly; and you have a government run and regulated infrastructure.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not this again. No offense, but every time you go off on one of these rants where you claim that everyone who is explaining stuff to you is simply too stupid to understand your galaxy brain, the dumber and more clueless you look. You are (and have for however long you’ve been here) coming off like a high school student who read a first year text and thinks you understand things, insulting people who actually understand the shit that you have no clue about.

Those are you "claims" yet you still support the NN rules, which clearly dictate that the FCC can pick and choose winners and losers based on how those rules get enforced.

Same with antitrust, which you’ve stated multiple times you support. And, honestly, NN is even better situated than anti-trust, because unlike antitrust, NN sets out the basic parameters of how to stay in compliance with providing an open internet.

NN needs to die so the cities and states will take action to fight incumbent ISP’s the way some are doing now. If NN comes back the fight against the monopolies will be lulled into a false peace. Toss NN, lets go for the throats of the ISP’s, you just want to bite their toes and ankles like a little yapping dog!

We need to destroy the system to save the system! That shit is like, high school high on drugs philosophy. It doesn’t work. It tends to just fuck stuff up. Having 50 different states come up with different rules for an open internet is no solution. You’d know that if you knew how this stuff works, but you don’t, so you just spout nonsense.

I fully admit that you guys have your "hearts are in the right place" but your brains are clearly out to lunch.

Yeah, those of us who actually have spent years on this topic are out to lunch, whereas you, the high school student, you’ve got this shit down. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

We cannot "regulate" ourselves out of this… it is just not possible. We might be able to regulate ourselves into a better position and yes the current NN rules might do that, but I just am saying that is not even close to enough. It still allows the ISP’s to have their monopolies and fiefdoms, the ISP’s till get to keep all the money they yoinked out of everyone’s hands and they are still going to have the blessings of all those regulations that keep a very high barrier of entry to the market to prevent competition just like it did Google’s gigabit fiber.

And your answer is to keep the regulatory regime in place, but with fewer rules, less competition and more ability for monopolies to form. That’s deep, man.

Yikes Mike, you are being clearly dishonest or misleading. The lie constantly perpetrated on me is the lie that I am for "100% total deregulation" by being anti-regulatory where corporations totally control and own everything.

You have said multiple times that you are against ANY gov’t regulation. And then, when called on it, you admit that you’re okay with antitrust. Which means you were not being accurate, and when people call out your bullshit you get weaselly. Which is why everyone thinks you’re an idiot.

Yes, I don’t have a problem with you believing that the NN rules are complimentary to Free-Market, but as much as you can believe that, you are just wrong.

Convincing.

Look, a PRINCIPLED, intellectually honest response would be about WHY NN is antithetical to a free market. You didn’t do that. You just claim I’m wrong. I wrote a long detailed post why NN and free market can co-exist. If you want to tell me I’m wrong, the onus is on you to give AN ACTUAL FUCKING ARGUMENT, not just "you are just wrong."

Government control must be removed from the equation entirely.

Wait. Just 10 seconds ago you said it was a lie that people were claiming that you said government control must be removed entirely. Do you even know what you believe?

And if you believe that, then how do you square that with your support for antitrust?

The ONLY part government should have is punishment.

Oh, I see. Hey, guess what Sparky: the only part the FCC has with NN is punishment. So… now do you support the rules?

Either way — and this is the important part — you TOTALLY FAILED to address the key point I made. Which is that you flat out lie when you claim that Techdirt’s default position is "more government." I explained to you in detail that we generally distrust government, but we’re not so cultish and religious to believe that government never has a role. So in this ONE case we believe that government has an appropriate and very limited role.

And yet rather than admit that YOU FUCKING LIED (because you did), you just attack our position on net neutrality (without any reason, just telling us we’re wrong).

So let’s split the discussion into two things:

  1. STOP FUCKING LYING and claiming that our default position on everything is "more government."
  2. Explain why in THIS INSTANCE you think NN regs are bad and why we’re wrong to say that given this particular set of circumstances they are a better result.

Can you do that? Can you making a coherent argument?

  • As long as the government get to "regulate" them as "natural monopolies" then we will never have free-market relief.*

WHAT?!? Do you know the first thing about what a natural monopoly is, because it certainly looks like you do not.

And this does not even get into the arbitrary enforcement of regulations that government already has a problem with.

Yet you support antitrust enforcement. You’re a bundle of nonsense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Stop it. Grow the fuck up.”

forgot to add, that is what I am asking of you!

Grow up and realize that you cannot obtain relieve through government regulatory efforts. It has not worked since the founding of the FCC and it will not work now!

and I do hope I am wrong, but history is on my side, not yours!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Oh look hip has decided to do his usual. Let’s see being a dumbass condescending dunning keuger victim, check. What’s next. Losing his arguement so badly he runs away only to pop up again like a case of the hero on an otherwise good date. The only question is will he grace us with one of the two stupid quotes he copy pasted from wiki quote. Tune in next post to find out. Same chip time, same chip station.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's Tuesday, so Techdirt pro-drugs like every other day.

seized a small quantity of Cannabis

Is strictly factual. Only hardcore drug addicts would feel a need to jeer it — or to re-write it for here.

You don’t give any examples of the "insulting, abusive or offensive" comments, so since YOU can’t be bothered to inform, I accept the Police characterization of such. — That’s as you’d get in court, kids, if don’t show evidence, merely try to cast the other party as "bad".

It’s a strong principle of common law that persons (not even Police) have to suffer "insulting, abusive or offensive" comments. "Free speech" is not without limits, particularly for the serfs of the UK.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'It's a terrible thing when YOU do it, but it's my RIGHT to!'

They seem to think it’s a magical ‘I win the argument’ phrase, but what makes it particularly funny this time around is that the dishonest hypocrite claims that ‘Common Law!’ means that people don’t have to suffer ‘insulting, abusive or offense’ comments, when that’s pretty much their stock and trade, which means that if they were right(for once) their precious Common Law would be all the justification TD or anyone else would need to flag them if not outright ban them from posting here.

As always they are the gift that keeps on giving, always good for a laugh.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Finally, there’s the idiotic claim about gateway drug use, one that has been repeatedly found false.”

That’s not what the linked study said. Not even close. What the linked study and explanation said is that the MAJORITY of people that try cannabis do not go on to other (harder) drugs. It did NOT say it’s false. The article basically points out that the studies do point to a gateway-like effect and is consistent with the definition of a gateway product.

There are still plenty of people that DO go on to harder drugs in each and every study mentioned. It’s also mentioned there are other drugs that people tend to move onwards from, including alcohol. What the article points out is that people that do end up going on to other more self destructive drugs usually have other social or physiological predispositions. It does not disprove the gateway effect, instead, it points out very clearly that there is such an effect but it’s not a single drug that can claim to be THE gateway drug, merely A gateway drug because of underlying predispositions.

So before you start dogmatically claiming an article claims NO evidence of the gateway drug effect, be sure you’re not linking something that says nothing of the sort. The science of addiction is rarely so cut and dried as people like the author claim.

Should cannabis be delisted as a sched 1 drug? Yes. Should it be allowed recreationally? Hell no. It’s a fucking MEDICINE and should be carefully approached just like any other medicine or medicinal herb. It should be studied to find out what its applicable uses are, but recreational use shouldn’t be any less regulated than alcohol or tobacco because the social effects are the same. (DUI & second hand smoke effects)

bob says:

Re: Re:

Except that the article was very specific to say some research suggests the gateway hypothesis is true.

But he article also states that it was not the drug itself that causes the user to try others. It just happens to be readily available like alcohol and tobacco.

So it’s not that A always leads to B which precedes C but just as likely A leads to C directly. Or even A leads to (insert available thing here) which precedes C

Where A is the predisposition
B is marijuana
And C is hard drugs.

bob says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, I don’t have a problem if people want to drink. I think people are dumb for using tobacco because I see no redeeming value in it. Even vaping needs more study because it looks like it isn’t much better than smoking for your body.

Personally I don’t drink, smoke, and even if people legalize marijuana I won’t try it either. But I don’t think it should be illegal to use. And once legal, people still must be responsible when they smoke or drink or use whatever the legal thing is.

Like I listed, it is a gateway hypothesis. Not one I subscribe to but that is what the article actually said.

That One Guy (profile) says:

So reassuring

Boast about a trivial ‘bust’ as though anyone but them cared, got angry when someone mocked them and threatened charges against the heinous perpetrator…

Oh yeah, these are definitely not the sort of people that would abuse their power on the street when they might have to face harsh words in person, so glad to have that worry cleared up.

Anonmylous says:

Re: So reassuring

It is in fact reassuring that the police are letting residents of their community know they are working to make sure that the community is safe. That is part of proper policing, making sure your presence is felt in the community as a positive force. For that, kudos, let them brag about busting someone for smoking weed in a public park… that’s a good thing. We don’t let people drink in parks for a reason. We don’t need kids and those who choose not to partake surrounded by it. And this by no means bragging, despite the slant of the article, it was simple and informative, a decent example of community policing. I don’t use facebook so cannot see other examples of this department’s postings, but that seemed like a completely reasonable post. And the last bit about it being made part of their patrol is another way of saying “We’ll continue making sure its safe for your kids to come to this park.”

The wrong part was threatening to arrest people for giving them shit about it. Cops need a thicker skin these days in all countries, because the voice of the people is louder than ever. That law is stupid, and stands in defiance of a free people. It should be called out anytime its use is threatened until lawmakers remove it from the books.

Anomalous Cowherd says:

Gateway Drugs

People constantly overlook the most pernicious of all gateway drugs: milk. It can be proven that 100% of all drug addicts began by drinking this in their early years. However, the American Dairy Association lobbies intensively to prevent public scrutiny of their nefarious practices.

Seriously, are people still swallowing that “gateway drug” swill? What has happened to our educational system?

Jono793 (profile) says:

The law is actually even thinner than you say

Section 1.1 of the Communications Act 1988 does indeed make it an offense to send communications where the intention is to cause distress or anxiety.

But, subsections a) and b) that same paragraph specify that the nature of the message has to be either indecent, grossly offensive, a threat, or knowingly false information. Only if that’s triggered does the ‘distress and anxiety’ part kick in.

Grossly offensive or indecent? Perhaps these police live in some puritanical age of history, but the idea of drug use being offensive (Grossly or otherwise) is fanciful. A threat? Please! False information? I don’t know what planet they’re on if they think a couple of roll-ups is a substantial drug bust; irrespective, it’s clearly subjective opinion.

The real problem is the general attitude of the UK police to free speech. Sadly, there’s little that can be done. While there’s a potential human rights claim under Section 10 of the Human Rights Act, that law gives a wide (too wide) margin of appreciation, especially when it comes to law enforcement. One place where the USA is miles ahead of us 🙁

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/27/section/1

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