A High Court Judge has ruled that people should not be charged for swearing in public after upholding an appeal from a defendant charged with hurling obscenities at a police officer. The judge ruled profanities are so commonplace that they no longer cause distress.
But does this mean it is now acceptable to swear in the street? We asked the people of Lincoln what they thought:
“Swearing in public is usually done in conjunction with antisocial behavior, and that is what people should be charged for, not the verbal abuse. In the spur of the moment sometimes you need to just swear. It’s only if you then go and punch someone then it is a problem. Words only mean what we allow them to mean, if we find the word offensive, then the problem is with us.”
“I don’t approve at all. I tend to feel if people swear then they haven’t got a full grip of the English language. There are words in the English language that are lot better than the four letter words used in public. I don’t think people should go to prison for it, but swearing is an offense, and I think they should get a heavy fine in the hope they won’t repeat what they had done.”
“I’m not offended by it. I think there are certain words that are not reasonable to use in public, and I think you have to be particularly careful about words you use around young children, but it’s not something I am particularly offended by. People should only be punished if it is seriously abusive or offensive. Just general bad language is accepted now.”
“I definitely don’t think people should be charged for swearing in public. Sometimes you just can’t help it. I think perhaps a lot of foul language can be linked to a person’s background and education. I don’t think it’s a good thing to swear too much, but as far as I’m concerned the law should not be used to force people to stop.”