Shouting ‘Fire!’ at the Policemen’s Ball

by Mark Steyn

In Britain, if a member of the public essays a mild jest about bombs or terrorism to the authorities, he faces seven years in jail. But, if a Muslim police officer does it in Dorset, where Olympic events are being held and where the constabulary is stretched to the limit by the biggest security operation in years, it just shows what a great sense of humor the guy has:

A police officer caused a major terrorism alert after ringing a busy port with a hoax bomb threat.

PC Hatef Nezami, 48, rang colleagues at the police Special Branch office with a coded message that a device was placed in a busy port.

Specialist terrorism staff were so concerned by the call’s authentic nature that they started preparing for a full terrorist attack.

But don’t worry. Falsely reporting that a bomb is on a ferry in the harbor at Poole doesn’t seem to harm your career prospects in the Dorset police:

The Daily Mail understands that Mr Nezami, who has worked as a detective, has not faced criminal or disciplinary proceedings.

During my free-speech battles in Canada and elsewhere, I was routinely lectured by huffily indignant plonkers whose research began and ended with Bartlett’s For Dummies that “there is no right to shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre.” But Constable Nezami has just turned a lazy metaphor into reality, and none of the indignant huffers seems to mind.

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