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Joined: 2006-10-31

[QUOTE]A father criticised a police force today for launching an investigation after his ten-year-old son allegedly called a schoolfriend "gay" in an email.

Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George.

The officers were called earlier this month after a parent complained that George had called her son a "gay boy" in an email.

Mr Rawlinson, 41, said: "I could not believe what I was hearing when the officers told me.

"They told me they considered it a very serious offence, I thought they were joking at first.

"I run a construction company and have to deal with problems of theft and the like everyday. My wife is a magistrate and sees serious crimes all the time so this just seemed like a huge waste of resources for something so trivial.

"I am furious about what has happened, it just seems the politically correct brigade are taking over."

Mr Rawlinson said his son, who is a pupil at Farnworth Primary School in Widnes, was terrified when police arrived and asked him if he would be arrested.

He added: "I think the police do a good job but I think their hands are tied by this political correctness.

"My son is not anti anybody, he is too young to have made judgments about people and we have always taught him to judge people as he finds them.

"There is no evidence he sent this email but even if he did I'm sure the words have been taken the wrong way.

"If somebody had called the police about something like this in my day they would have laughed - they certainly wouldn't have sent two officers out. It is completely ridiculous."

Inspector Nick Bailey, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: "The matter was reported to police as the parents of the boy believed it was more sinister than just a schoolyard prank.

"We were obliged to record the matter as a crime and we took a proper, and maybe an old fashioned, view.

"Going to the boy's house was a reasonable course of action to take. We do not feel this is something that should be pursued.

"My understanding is that this message was part of some behaviour that has been ongoing.

"The use of the word gay would imply this is homophobic but we would be hard-pushed to say this is a homophobic crime.

"This boy has not been treated as an offender."

Copyright Press Association 2007





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