Following the arrest of Mr Dale McAlpine on 20 April 2010 in the UK for telling a member of the public, in a moderate manner, that homosexuality is a sin, I felt compelled to write a letter of complaint to the Chief Constable. So here is my first email letter, the reply from the police reproduced with written permission, and my final reply. Fortunately on this occasion commonsense and the complete law has prevailed, with the charges being dropped, but nevertheless Mr McAlpine was unlawfully arrested as he did nothing wrong.
4 May 2010
Professional Standards Department
Dear Chief Constable Mackey
Re: Wrongful Arrest of Mr Dale McAlpine 20 April 2010
I am writing to make a complaint regarding the wrongful arrest of Mr Dale McAlpine, in the Cumbrian town of Workington on 20 April 2010 under the Public Order Act 1986 Sections 5(1) and (6). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1270364/Christian-preacher-hooligan-charge-saying-believes-homosexuality-sin.html?printingPage=true
The Public Order Act 1986, even with amendments, aims to control threatening words and behaviour, particularly football hooligans, not Christians stating their beliefs, which an openly gay activist PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) Sam Adams has applied to harass and intimidate a law abiding citizen.
I find it highly offensive, threatening, intimidating and hateful towards Christians and traditional family values that PCSO Sam Adams actively participates in Gay Pride marches, but I don’t expect him to be arrested unless he uses violence or threats of violence. So why should a Christian be arrested for quietly informing the public of their religious beliefs?
Are your police not aware of the amendments to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 Section 16 where I quote:
“29JA Protection of freedom of expression (sexual orientation)
In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”
So what on earth were your police officers doing and why did the Custody Sergeant not tell the police officers to just let him go? I have two close relatives in the police and they take great pains to treat all people fairly, which is the slogan of your force; so what happened here?
It is clear that as in other police forces e.g. Glasgow, gay activists are using the police to intimidate (bully) Christians for their beliefs and constrain all free speech.
All charges should be dropped against Mr McAlpine, a public apology issued by Sam Adams and by your force and all police officers reminded that openly expressing religious beliefs, even criticising homosexual behaviour, is still legal in this country despite the best efforts of gay activists and Labour politicians to gag the country.
James B Waddell
Reply from Cumbria Police 24 May 2010, reproduced with permission dated 27 May 2010, below:
Dear Dr Waddell,
Thank you for your email enquiry.
The Crown Prosecution Service has carefully assessed the evidence in the case and has decided to discontinue the prosecution of Mr. McAlpine.
We would like to reassure you that Cumbria Constabulary respects, and is committed to upholding, the fundamental right to freedom of expression. We are just as committed to maintaining the peace and preventing people feeling alarmed or distressed by the actions of others in public places. Our officers and staff often have to make difficult decisions whilst balancing the law and peoples human rights, this is not easy especially when on occasions opinions and interpretations differ.
There is always learning to be had and we will review the case to ensure all of our staff and officers have the opportunity to continue to develop their knowledge in the application of legislation in what are very often testing circumstances.
Police Headquarters, Carleton Hall, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2AU
Cumbria Constabulary – Safer Stronger Cumbria
Reply from James Waddell to Mr Capstick on 24 May 2010:
Dear Mr Capstick
Thank you for your reply.
Having seen the video and heard the audio recording that was taken at the incident, and given the context that the PCSO involved is a GLBT Police Liaison Officer and Gay activist, it strikes me that the decision taken to arrest Mr McAlpine was far from a difficult decision of balancing the law, but an opportunity for a gay activist to encourage the abuse of police powers by harassing a law abiding citizen who openly opposed his lifestyle.
Personally, I find the behaviour of the PCSO and the Police officers who arrested him, falling far below the professional standards that I as a member of the public would expect them to uphold. Discretion, impartiality and thinking on one’s feet are a prerequisite of being a police officer. These standards were not applied in what was clearly a non-threatening situation and where there was no illegal activity – the case was dropped by the CPS.
Hopefully lessons have indeed been learnt and passed on to the other police forces in the UK.
James B Waddell
This incident hopefully sets an important case precedent that Christians can comment on homosexual behaviour without breaking the law. Taking a video recording was an excellent idea and should be planned in advance if any Christian is planning activities in a public place. Note well that Mr McAlpine did not raise his voice or get angry even though the situation was highly provocative. His behaviour under the circumstances was highly commendable.
© May 2010