Boris promises arrests for swearing at police

By staff

Action will be taken so that police can arrest members of the public for swearing at them, Boris Johnson has promised.

The London mayor attacked police guidance advising officers not to try to arrest those who verbally attacked them on the basis that police should have thicker skins.

"I reckon we need to get back to where we were before some judge given law of 1988 and be clear that if people swear at the police, they must understand they will be arrested," Mr Johnson said.

"If people feel that there are no comebacks and no boundaries for the small stuff, I'm afraid they will go on to commit more crimes."

Section five of the Public Disorder Act bans "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby".

Courts have resisted the use of the law however, under the assumption that police officers should be able to deal with swearing while carrying out their duty.

Mr Johnson has already held talks with new Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, where the two men agreed to scrap the guidance.

Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said the speech offered northing to ordinary Londoners.

"Today we saw the real Boris Johnson – an out-of-touch Conservative, failing to put ordinary Londoners first on the issues that really affect them, from rising fares to police cuts," he said.

"He gave no hope to Londoners facing another steep fare rise this January, which will mean bus fares are up 56% under a Tory mayor, and gave no hard commitment on police numbers, which are in fact due to fall by 1,800 according to his own Metropolitan police figures."

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said: “Boris’s speech was full of waffle because he’s done so little for London as Mayor. He claims other people’s achievements as his own because he doesn’t have any himself and he clearly has no vision for the city’s future.

“During the riots, while people were worried about their safety and their communities, Boris stayed on holiday and then came back waving a broom around like some modern day Mary Poppins."