A frustrated cyclist captured the moment he was stopped by London police officers and accused of a ‘public order offence’ after swearing at an unmarked police car who was parked in a bus lane.
From his helmet camera he recorded a four-minute exchange with officers in Wandsworth, London, one of whom warned he could be ‘overran’ or ‘stabbed’ for the expletive.
The police officer told him swearing was ‘extremely wrong’, adding: ‘You are in Wandsworth, where there are some extremely nasty people’ and ‘don’t think there are people out there who will stab you for less than that.’
Cyclist and presenter Jeremy Vine shared the clip to his followers, comparing it to a ‘Comic Relief sketch’. He added: ‘You shouldn’t swear because – er, bad people might beat you up.’
In the footage the cyclist was transporting his two young children and was forced to pull out into the road in order to avoid a parked car in the bus lane, which usually gives priority to buses, cycles and motorbikes.
The cyclists helmet camera caught the exchange with the officer (pictured) who said there are ‘extremely nasty people in Wandsworth’
Having reportedly been blocked by a BMW, he pulled out into the road as he overtook the parked car (also a BMW) and shouted ‘Get out of the f*****g way’ as he passed.
But the parked vehicle immediately fired up its police sirens and began to follow him.
As the BMW pulled up the cyclist, who stopped immediately, laughed and told the officer who was climbing out of the car: ‘I’m sorry sir. I didn’t know you were an unmarked vehicle.’
The officer approached the cyclist before accusing him of breaking the law. The second officer, the driver of the vehicle, also exited the car, but only stood and witnessed the exchange for around a minute before returning.
The first officer said: ‘Swearing in the street with two small children that are yours. You’re committing public order offences with your kids.
‘How inconsiderate and stupid to be. Now listen.
‘If weren’t police and we were the wrong type of people… if I overran you because we’re the wrong type of people, you want to put your kids’ lives at risk?
The cyclist tried to respond but the officer interrupted him saying: ‘Listen. You’ve got people out there who if you swear at them, they will come after you. You know that don’t you?’
The unmarked police car was parked in a bus line on a busy Wandsworth road when the incident occurred
Once the police car had switched its sirens on, the cyclist raised his hand in apology before being pulled over
The second police officer (left) did not take part in the conversation and returned to the car shortly after it began
The cyclist replied: ‘But that’s against the law.’
The officer said: ‘Well swearing in the street is against the law. You just did it.
‘So don’t think there aren’t people out there who will stab you for less than that.’
The cyclist told the officer he understood his point, but said it was not illegal to swear.
The officer said: ‘In a public place, where there are small children, you cannot swear. It’s under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. You can look it up.
‘It is an offence. And it’s a fine, a £100 fine. Worse sir, you’re swearing in front of your children, what example are you setting?’
The Public Order Act states that anyone who uses ‘threatening or abusive words or behaviour… within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm of distress’ is in breach of the law.
The cyclist pointed out that it was ‘his choice’ to swear, and reiterated he had not known the car was a police vehicle.
He added: ‘So many cyclists come along here. It’s really important that people don’t [block] it.
The cyclist admitted to being ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ by the car blocking his path, but apologised to officers saying they had a ‘right’ to be in the lane
‘Now you’re doing a special job and you’ve got the right to do it.’
He added: ‘I did choose to swear and if you were someone else I would have sworn. Now how wrong that is, I don’t know.’
The officer, who turned his back on the cyclist while he was speaking, said: ‘It’s extremely wrong. You are in Wandsworth, where there are some extremely nasty people.
‘And I get to see them quite a lot… I have to arrest them. I have seen people beat people up for being sworn at.’
The cyclist added he was ‘angry’ that he had to pull into the main road because a different BMW ‘wasn’t letting me out’ into the main road to avoid the police car, despite him ringing his bell.
The officer disputed whether that ‘mattered’, to which the cyclist said he was in a ‘cyclist and pedestrian priority lane’.
The officer asked whether it was the cyclist’s ‘right’ to ‘just pull out’ in front of a vehicle, arguing it was not a legal right to indicate and move into the road.
Shortly after the officer walked back to the vehicle while the cyclist tried to continue the discussion.
The cyclist, who admitted to being ‘wound up’, the said: ‘It happened, I came out, I came past you.
‘The only reason I had to do that was because you were in the way. I was upset, I swore at you.
‘And do you know what? I’d probably do it again, and I’d hope I wasn’t going to get some a******e from Wandsworth beat me up.’
The officer then returned to his car and the cyclist added he appreciated their job and he hoped they had a ‘great day’.
The cyclist received mixed reception from viewers of the clip, although the majority did rule in favour of him as they criticised the police officer for wasting time, with many saying officers should be ‘tackling knife crime’ instead.
One social media user said: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but does there not have to be a reason for Police to use blue lights?’
Another described the officer’s attitude as ‘terrible and needs addressing’.
But others said swearing was ‘needlessly antagonistic’ and said the officer was ‘right telling the cyclist off for swearing in the presence of his own children’.
The Metropolitan Police have been contacted for comment.