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Christian preacher wins second payout from Cumbria Constabulary


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Dale McAlpine has won £4,000 from Cumbria after he was wrongfully arrested for the second time while preaching the gospel.


Dale McAlpine - copyright of the Christian Institute

Date - 10th December 2019
By - Chloe Livadeas


A Christian preacher has been awarded £4,000 by Cumbria Constabulary for wrongful arrest, the second time he has made a successful claim against the force.   

Dale McAlpine, 51, was arrested for the first time in 2010 in Workington Town Centre on suspicion of committing a section 5 Public Order Offence, allegedly over making homophobic remarks, and later received £7,000 plus costs from Cumbria.  

He said at the time: “As a Christian man, I forgive the police for their actions. However, I also want to protect others who may face similar problems in the future.”

He was arrested a second time in 2018 whilst preaching in Kendal Town Centre.

In a press release put out by Christian Institute, it was stated that Mr McAlpine’s message included: “We’re all one race you see, the human race, all created by one God, the God of the Bible, not the god of the Qur’an, not the god of Mormonism, not the god of Jehovah’s Witnesses or the god of Roman Catholicism, or Buddha, there is only one true living God and that’s the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ.”

He was approached by two security guards who accused him of preaching against Allah, spreading hate and insulting people. Officers then arrived and arrested him under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 which outlaws threatening, abusive or insulting words with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. He was detained for six hours. The force said the offence was racially aggravated.

He was then released on bail and informed six months later that the charge had been dropped due to a lack of evidence.

The Christian Institute is an evangelical Christian Group and a registered charity who have helped McAlpine in both his claims against Cumbria Police. They promote fundamentalist Christian views from a belief in biblical inerrancy, and are therefore against abortion and homosexuality. The group has a history of campaigning against gay rights.

Dale McAlpine has been a street preacher for nearly 15 years, travelling around the UK to deliver his message. 

Mr McAlpine said: “I took this legal action to help the police realise you cannot arrest people just for preaching the Gospel.

“This is a free country and I’m grateful for our freedoms. I’m also extremely grateful to The Christian Institute for helping me take a stand. I couldn’t have done it without them. That’s why I’ve decided to donate all of the £4,000 to their Legal Defence Fund so they can continue to help Christians to fight for religious liberty.

He added: “I hope the case encourages other Christians involved in open air preaching. As long as you are reasonable in your preaching you should have nothing to fear from the police.”

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, said: “We are glad Cumbria Police have done the right thing and that Dale has been vindicated. He was simply preaching the basics of the Christian Gospel. He did nothing wrong and should never have been arrested in the first place.

“This is a positive outcome, not just for Dale, but for Christians across the country. It’s a reminder that there is no law against preaching the Gospel. Detaining Dale for six hours and putting him in a cell was a gross overreaction from the police.

Mr Calvert went on to say: “We hope they will put systems in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Our country has a rich heritage of free speech, for preachers and for everybody else. This needs cherishing and protecting and that requires the police to actively train their officers to stand up for free speech, including speech they don’t like, or that is unfashionable.”

Cumbria Constabulary said: "We investigate and assess on the facts of each individual case and following this decisions were taken not to contest the claims and settlement negotiations subsequently took place." 

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