Should the Police be Banned from Facebook? (2011), Sean Gabb

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Sean Gabb, speaking on BBC Radio 5 on the 30th December 2011.

This discussion arises from a story that 150 police officers had been disciplined for making "unacceptable" comments on Facebook. One had even been dismissed from the force for saying something unsympathetic about a non-white.

Sean Gabb makes these points:

There are over 1000 serving police officers in England with criminal records - some for violent behaviour or wounding. Yet an officer is dismissed for speaking out of turn on race and immigration. This shows the priority of modern police management.

As a rule, no one should be disciplined at work for what he says off duty and in his private capacity. This should be a moral obligation on private employers and a legal duty for public employers.

Sean has mixed feelings about this case. On the one hand, England has become a soft totalitarian police state, and it is funny to watch police officers getting a taste of the medicine they are happy to force down our throats. On the other hand, freedom of speech is so important a right that it should be defended even for the worthless wretches who tend nowadays to become police officers.