A MAN who was arrested while preaching in Kendal has received £4,000 in an out-of-court settlement with police.
Police reported that Dale McAlpine was arrested on suspicion of a religiously-aggravated public order offence in the town centre on July 18, 2018.
The Christian Institute, commenting on behalf of Mr McAlpine, of Workington, said he was taken to the station in a police car and was later released after spending six hours in a cell.
In January of this year, police decided to take ‘no further action’ in the case. The following month solicitors acting on behalf of Mr McAlpine wrote to the chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary making a claim for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.
In October 2019, a settlement was reached between the police and Mr McAlpine which the Christian Institute said was to the value of £4,000.
Mr McAlpine, who pledged this money to the institute’s ‘legal defence fund’, said: “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and his message of salvation and I want everyone to hear about it. I took this legal action to make the police realise you can’t arrest people just for preaching the gospel. This is a free country and I’m grateful for our freedoms.”
A police spokesperson said: “Cumbria Constabulary investigate and assess on the facts of each individual case. Following this, decisions were taken not to contest the claims and settlement negotiations subsequently took place.
“Incidents are regularly reviewed to ensure that the constabulary can provide appropriate guidance to its officers and staff.”
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.”
He added: “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.”