Kent coppers have infuriated free speech advocates after arresting a man for posting a picture of a burning poppy on Remembrance Sunday on his Facebook page.
In a statement, Kent police said that a man from Aylesham had been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications. The arrest followed a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy. He is currently in police custody awaiting interview.
Needless to say that is the sort of thing we expect to hear from some heavy handed sheriff in the darklands of the US rather than the civilised parts of Kent.
As someone on Twitter pointed out, there is no point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be arrested by the police for burning a poppy.
While we would understand if he had snapped himself burning a puppy, rather than a poppy, we feel it is likely that the man was probably trying to make a point against those who feel that they have to wear a poppy for a week, rather than actually giving a monkey’s about the fallen dead.
Another Twit said that burning a poppy may be obnoxious, but it is not a criminal offence.
But the arrest was made under section 127 of the Communications Act, which states that someone can be guilty of an offence if they “send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.
Unfortunately it is not clear what is “grossly offensive”, rather than just offensive and the word itself is purely subjective.