“The new measures are part of the Prime Minister’s “Respect” agenda.
The Government is expected to propose compulsory “swear boxes” in town centres. The police will be given new powers to require offenders to make on the spot payments at the new payment kiosks.
Home Office minister Deirdre Hatchett defended the proposals on BBC’s Today programme. “We believe in freedom of speech”, she said. “But rights come with responsibilities. You cannot shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. Freedom to speak must be exercised with restraint. ”
“Leader of the Opposition David Cameron said that the Conservatives would look carefully at the Government’s proposals. “We stand for basic moral values. We will be happy to back the Prime Minister if he is prepared to stand up to his own party. But we want to see detailed estimates of the costs of the swear-boxes before we decide our position.”
“The Conservatives and Lib Dems are proposing an amendment designed to ensure that somebody would commit an offence only if they acted recklessly or with intent to offend by swearing. The Liberal Democrats say that the ban should be limited to swearing in public places.
Peers claimed government plans could leave members of the armed services, poets and rock stars open to prosecution.”