Since smoking in cars in the presence of children was made illegal in October last year, the Metropolitan police have prosecuted a total of zero drivers for it, so are there any other crimes you can get away with?
The Guardian reports that police allow for an informal period of ‘education’ before they begin enforcing new laws which is why they haven’t been charging anyone.
However, it’s actually quite common for laws to be enforced very haphazardly, if they even bother enforcing them at all.
Take these ones, for example…
Being drunk in a pub
Shockingly, it’s actually illegal to be drunk in a pub (that’s exactly what we thought they were for) under the Licensing Act of 1872. The law states ‘every person found drunk on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty’.
Further, under the 2003 Licensing Act, it’s an offence to sell alcohol to someone who’s already had one too many or to buy booze for a drunk person. They’re well intentioned laws of course, but I’m pretty guilty of all these crimes. And I’m sure I’m not the only one!
Carrying a plank along a pavement
The best thing about having an unwritten constitution is that we often forget to remove some of our crazier laws like this particular odd example.
In London and the surrounding area, people are prohibited from carrying planks along the pavement, presumably in case you bump into someone.
It’s part of a list of street nuisances described in the Metropolitan Police Act of 1839, which also bans the singing of indecent songs, sliding on ice, and playing knock-a-door run. We can’t see the police locking anyone up for any of those any more.
Giving a bad reference
You may be surprised to know that, technically, an employer cannot give a (subjective) bad reference because it may constitute libel. Before you go pissing off your boss though, be warned, they can choose not to give one at all or be non-committal.
To be honest, it’s slightly more complicated than it seems, as an employer can provide whatever reference they like, but they shouldn’t say anything that is negative which they wouldn’t be prepared to defend in a court-of-law, as the recipient of the reference has the right to sue for defamation of character or plain libel.
As the libel laws of Britain are quite strict, employers often opt for the simple ‘don’t say anything bad’ approach. That said, if you’re a shit employee we wouldn’t go calling the cops about your shitty reference unless you want to be laughed at.
Honking your car horn
Taxi drivers be warned – a horn should not be honked willy-nilly or when a car is ‘stationary’ on a road at any time.
The only time it should be honked is at times of danger due to another vehicle on or near the road.
Fun bonus fact – horns shouldn’t be used to indicate your annoyance at someone going under the speed limit or general shitty driving. Instead, it’s only to alert others to your presence or danger.
Dear God, I’d love to see this banned nationally, with life imprisonment reserved for repeat offenders.
Unfortunately, for now, it’s only a Transport for London bylaw, provided there’s a sign telling people not to.
The rule specifically says:
Any person directed by a notice to queue or asked to queue by an authorised person shall join the rear of the queue and obey the reasonable instructions.
Transport for London also prohibits people from using London’s public transport while ‘unfit as a result of being drunk or under the influence of controlled drugs’. We’re sure that no Londoners have ever disobeyed that one.
After reading these and realising I’ve definitely broken most of these laws, I kind of feel like the worlds shittest bandit…