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Can a harassment warning be retracted?


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#1 Tony2010

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 06:29 PM

Hello.
Can someone tell me if a harassment warning be retracted given two situations.
1/The person who has been issued with it can prove it was unfairly issued?
2/The person who made the complaint wishes for it to be retracted?

1/Can a person who has been issued with a harassment warning reply to a civil and formal text in the same manner to the person who made the complaint?
2/For how long does a harassment warning stand?
3/If the person who made the complaint provides the person who has been issued with the warning a solicitors
letter stating they will accept communication by email,text,letter,phone,is that person then ok to contact
the person whom made the complant?

Many thanks for any replies.

Edited by Tony2010, 15 October 2010 - 06:30 PM.


#2 SimonT

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:03 PM

A harassment warning is not a formal punishment, which means it last for ever. Just like being told, never contact me again, lasts forever unless it doesn't.

1. if the person who got the warning issued to you wants to talk to you, then a), what a fantastic waste of public money and B), i wouldn't reply unless i thought that the person sending the text wasn't going to start being a pratt again and call the police.

2.As i say, you are warned about your behaviour and that it could be construed as harassment, however harassment requires a course of conduct and i believe that has to be at least 2 incidents within either a year or 2 years. So you could say it last for a year at least, though its a bit pointless to wait that long and then start the same behaviour and get another warning / arrested.

3.if neither party are going to call the police then they can do whatever the hell they like. The police only get involved when one side cant act like an adult any more and the police get involved to tell the children how to behave.

#3 Tony2010

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 08:12 PM

Thanks for the reply however I would still like answers to whether or not the police can retract a warning
whether it was proved by the person who received it that it was unfair or the person who made the complaint asked for it to be retracted?

If the person who made the complaint could not get it retracted but instead issued a solicitors letter to the accused that this person is prepared to except communication in the form of texts,calls,emails etc,is the accused then ok to contact the accuser?

#4 SimonT

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 08:45 PM

As i say, it cant be retracted, its a warning that your behaviour could be seen as causing harassment. A defence to harassment is to say that you did not think your behaviour was harassing. If you have been warned and carried on then you would have a big problem using that defence.

Its not a conviction or anything like that, it can just be used as part of a prosecution against someone.

If the person who asked for it to be issued, if its a police harassment warning and not a court order etc, then all they need to do is not report you to the police. There you go.

A solicitor letter saying you can contact someone from the person is a bloody good defence of harassment. But if the person doesnt make a compliant against you again, you wont need to use it.

The police will pretty much never prosecute someone for harassment without someone making a complaint about it and providing statements saying they were being harassed. So if you trust this person not to make a compliant again, then go for it.

#5 Tony2010

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:40 PM

Cant it be retracted even if proved to the police they issued it incorrectly?I intend on reporting this to the police complaints division also.

With regards to do I trust the person not to make a complaint?NO FRIGGING WAY !
Thats why I will not contact her unless either somehow I get the warning retracted,or she issues me with that solicitors letter.
Why do I need to contact her?Cos to my regret she is the mother of my son.As the warning states neither myself nor a third party acting on my behalf can contact her or her family then go figure how I can contact her with regards to my son.Dont say through solicitors !!
4.45pm - 'Hello Mr Solicitor,can you write to Miss X and tell her I cant collect my son till 5.15pm as I'm stuck in traffic'!.I mean talk about ridiculous.

Also,I have been unwilling since the harassment order was issued 10 days ago to collect my son at the newly agreed pick-up point at the entrance of Sainsburys as I feared for a false allegation made against me for verbal or physical abuse.It was pointed out to me however there would be CCTV cameras around so that may give me some protection.

#6 mikeh2000

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 11:45 PM

Harassment is a nightmare, and unfortunately when kids are involved in any seperation it can get messy with people trying to 'use' the Police for their own actions, for which I've lost count of how many times I've come across it.

A harassment letter is only issued when there's 'evidence' to support one, and that can simply be someone telling the Police something and making a statement, which may not be true(see above!), but the Police at the time have no way to dissprove it, so are stuck in the middle. If they don't issue a letter they'll get a complaint from the original complainant, and if they do they could get one from the person it was served on!

Although it says you can't have any contact with her, it all depends on whether she's going to make a complaint or not if you do, and only you know that. A harassment letter is simply a warning letter, it has no legal powers as such(it's not an injunction), so it may work getting a solicitor to write to her stating that you will need to contact her over the child; although your seperated your still his father and have parental rights, which will have to be discussed on occasion with the mother.

A course of conduct can simply be something as innocuous as sending 2 text messages to someone.

With kids involved, there is no easy solution as comon sense says you need to speak to your ex-partner to sort child care issues, picking them up, etc, which as you've already shown can't be done by a letter if your in a traffic jam! If your late picking him up, then depending on the state of the relationship with your ex, they could use that against you, depending on his age, as the courts look at the childs welfare firstly, not whether his father gets enough time with him. I'm guessing she looks after him most of the time, which means she holds the strings in effect. Even the fact you haven't seen him for 10 days could be used against you if she wanted to, and if she stops you seeing him altogeher, then you'll probably have to go to court to get something formally arranged with regards to visitation rights.

#7 devilsoldier

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 12:22 AM

in simple terms, it cannot be retracted! However solicitors letters have been discussed so you have the answer there. I can also suggest that if the complainant is willing to provide a statement to withdraw the original complaint and give that evidence then the original crime report associated with the allegation which is closed pending further acts of alleged harassment, could be opened and added too and closed as No Crime, which is will void the police warning. Its a long shot and I have not done one personally, but common sense approach is my thinking and If the complainant informed me that they were out of order - heat of moment etc I would consider this approach. I may also read the riot act to them for wasting my time and consider a PND for good measure to ensure the law is not abused again.

Like others have said, no harassment - no warning - warning amounts to a formal warning only - not a conviction - a warning is to highlight the behaviour - the warning normally stops the problem - the warning is valid indefinately but common sense comes in to play, eg: received a warning in 2002, problem solved. Further contact made in 2008 which amounts to further harassment, then I think it would be reasonable to assume that a conviction for a course of conduct would be impossible. Unless the defendant had been bed and breakfast, at her majesty's pleasure, from the initial warning, and upon release on the very day, the course of conduct continued. Then it could be considered by a normal person as such.

My honest answer is to get your advice from a solicitor. This will let you know where you stand legally with your rights on shared custody of your child or access rights. That will ultimately solve some of your issues. Good luck.

Another force wanted me to issue an harassemnt warning on Monday. I got our control to read the statement over the phone and guess what, it had no evidence of harassment or course of conduct! Do not be surprised that I sent it back to the force in question to say not doing it and why!

Edited by devilsoldier, 16 October 2010 - 12:25 AM.


#8 Tony2010

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 11:32 AM

Thankyou Mike and DS.
Your advice is very helpful.

No I wont be able to get her to retract the warning,she is too hell bent on war for that.To get a solicitors letter from her stating she will accept contact will itself be a big thing.
As it stands,since the warning we have exchanged around 6 texts(3 each).However my short and civil texts were only in reply to her short and civil texts relating to our son.Even this I realise could get me into trouble which is ridiculous.Why should she be ok to contact me and not vice versa!

Anyway like I wrote to her solicitor and explained,she got the police to issue the warning where not only me but a third party acting on my behalf cannot contact her or her family.Therefore as I explained the onus is on HER to come up with a solution for contact.I will quite happily go and collect my son from her when visitation starts up again and will make no contact with her because I cant.If there is an issue relating to our son which either one need to put across then i will continue to write direct to her solicitor as I have done and no charge,she can write to me again through her solicitor time and time again and waste her money.Her choice.
If there is need for instant communication,ie,I will be late collecting, dropping off my son,or another one of many reasons for an instant communication then too bad.

I doubt if the PC who issued the warning notified my ex of the possible complications of the warning with regards to contact.I hope the solicitor had the brains to make a practical suggestion.I think the situation is a joke.

Edited by Tony2010, 16 October 2010 - 11:36 AM.


#9 devil

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

Tony2010, I think there is some confusion here, maybe by you or even the officer who came to see you. A reasonable person wouldn't think you sending one text saying something like "I CAN PICK UP OUR SON AT 2.30PM IS THAT OK, IF SO TEXT BACK WHERE WE SHOULD MEET". Etc. Thats not harassment to harass someone you have to pursue a course of conduct likely to cause another harassment alarm or distress (see below link for full offence wording). Even with an harassment warning in place it doesn't stop reasonable contact. Have a look at the following link to harassment legislation:

http://wikicrimeline...from_harassment

If any decent cop gets a call to a person saying they are being harassed by an ex and the evidence they are given is one polite text arranging child contact then they would give suitable advice to the caller regarding police powers and an inability to do anything to assist given the circumstances.

It all depends on the circumstances presented such as if you sent the same text message as above repeatedly at all hours of the day and night then of course that is unreasonable and could cause you problems. The harassment act wasn't brought in for people to take pot shots at each other or prevent parents seeing their kids although this is how the act gets abused on a daily basis by the public.

Get legal advice on the matter so you know first hand how you stand, but your right it would be stupid to have to call a solicitor for every bit of contact and would end up bankrupting you in legal fees.

#10 Tony2010

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 02:11 PM

Thanks Devil ! Thankyou God someone who sees it like it is !
Of couse we both know a text saying Im going to be late etc is not harassment,however your opinion might be different from an officer recieving a complaint about such a text and I'll end up arrested.
The problem is Ive spoken to around 3 officers on the phone and in person and I get diiferent replies to how innocent texts would be treated.If the police officers themselves dont know the law then god help us all!

This morning for example I normally would collect my son at 9.30am from my ex at the entrance of sainsburys,however as I am fearful of a false allegation of physical or verbal abuse I have been unwilling to collect him for the last 10 days.However it was pointed out to me there are CCTV cameras which would give me good level of protection.Therefore I was happy to meet my ex and needed to let her know.I considered texting her but was fearful she may contact the police even though she texted me last saturday.Instead I got the police to ring and tell her.Sadly however she was not willing to meet and give me my son.
Now had I texted her I could well have been arrested although you would think I would be let go without charge cos its obvious there was no harassment.However do I really want to get arrested and put in a cell for a few hours.No thanks !

This is an extract from the emailed warning.The words 'must not' and 'any way' are bold and underlined.


'From receipt of this letter onwards and to avoid a subsequent prosecution you must not:
· Contact the complainants in any way, either directly or indirectly. (This includes visits to the named person, their immediately family or address). Named people not to contact are...........'



Therefore if I said to the arresting officer I know what the warning states however I was just asking her this or that then they wouldnt give a damn and will say 'must not' means 'must not'and for any situation.

Whats ironic though is as she hasnt been issued with a warning she seemingly can contact me.
What also concerns me is that I did not received the warning in letter form as I was told I would but only by email.As I get around 200 spam emails a day this email could have gone straight into my junk box and I would never have been aware of it,contacted her,got arrested !

Edited by Tony2010, 16 October 2010 - 02:14 PM.


#11 devil

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 02:34 PM

The police don't have power to ban you from contacting someone except in giving bail conditions when you have been arrested and bailed for enquiries. The harassment warning can only serve to inform you that your conduct to date has been deemed as harassment and to continue that course of conduct you are liable to be arrested. If future contact doesn't meet the points to prove for harassment you can't be prosecuted but you are right you could end up getting arrested on suspicion of an offence which is entirely legal and although you may well be released without charge it is not a nice thing to go through.

A big problem is common sense isn't allowed in policing nowadays. Such as domestics we have force policies to take positive action and if the cop doesn't they can get in serious trouble as such arrests tend to be common place if their is even a hint of an offence. Not ideal and if the circumstances are as you describe as usual its a complete abuse of the system by the complainant. There are two sides to every story though so I'm sure whether its true or not the account given to the police by your partner differs from yours.

#12 Tony2010

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 03:38 PM

Thanks Devil.
All I can do is wait to see what is the content of the solicitors letter I receive next week from my ex.
Until then I cannot make any contact with her for fear of arrest.

Like I said the onus is on her to provide a practical means of communication regards our son.
I expect my access to my son to resume next week so if this goes on without my ex coming up with a practical means of contact then she will be inconvenienced as much as me.Suits me fine so long as I see my son.
In the meantime I will put in my request for joint custody.

#13 devilsoldier

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:16 PM

Tony, all legal stuff can be found on the web: This extract may help clarify some questions for you.

Reasonable behaviour and reasonable communications may not amount to harassment under law, it may not prevent a complaint and arrest but nevertheless may prevent an outcome or charge.

I don't want to offer advice, I would only do this in person on duty. I strongly advise you seek clarification with your intended communications method with a brief and take directions on previous or stated cases. Defences such as reasonable comms to discuss collection and visiting of children may be one consideration. If you are unable to talk together anymore and this comms has broken down then thats the fact of life these days. But comms to discuss collection and safty of children in that collection may be interpreted as fair.

Look at the cut and paste below and you will find some answers.

Section 2 offence - Harassment
3.5 The elements of the section 2 offence are:

a course of conduct; which amounts to harassment of another; and which the defendant knows, or ought to know amounts to harassment of another. or section 1(1A), as inserted by section 125(2) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA)

a course of conduct; which involves harassment of two or more persons; and which the defendant knows or ought to know involves harassment of those persons; by which he intends to persuade any person (whether or not one of those mentioned above)
not to do something that he i s entitled or required to do; or to do something that he is not under any obligation to do. 3.6 As a summary only offence, the section 2 offence requires informations or complaints to be laid within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose. The 6 months' limitation should run from the last date of the course of conduct alleged.

3.7 In determining whether the defendant ought to know that the course of conduct amounts to harassment, the question to be considered is whether a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

Defence - Harassment - section 23.8 Three defences are available to the section 2 offence:

that the course of conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment; or that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable. (Could you prove reasonable)?

Edited by devilsoldier, 16 October 2010 - 10:18 PM.


#14 Tony2010

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:51 AM

Many thanks DS for taking the time to provide that info.Its much appreciated.

This is the section that concerns me:
'Reasonable behaviour and reasonable communications may not amount to harassment under law, it may not prevent a complaint and arrest but nevertheless may prevent an outcome or charge'

Although I do not intend to communicate with my ex in a way that a 'reasonable person'may deem as harassment,
I dont want to go through an arrest and spend time in a cell even if I would be let off.
So although I can to an extent protect myself from a conviction by guarding what I do and say,I know she can have me arrested quite easily.
Therefore I have written to her as I said through her solicitor and asked he to confirm by letter she will accept all forms of communication if it related to our son.If not then the onus is on her to provide an alternative.
What I would like to know that isnt clear,if she gives me that clearance and we are in communication by email,then one day the emails esculate into an argument,could I be arrested for harassment even though she is partaking in a 'conversation'?I have been told previously an exchange of emails which would be taken as having a 'conversation'would not make me liable for a charge of harassment.

One very important thing that hit me this morning comes from this section of the warning:

A complaint has been received from the ......family of harassment by yourself who have given accounts to ..... Police about your actions against them, which have caused them harassment. They are willing to support a prosecution against you under this act.

The fact is the family in question is my ex,her mother,her brother,her father.The brother and father I'm almost certain they are unaware a claim of harassment has been made in their name.
Regards the brother,two weeks ago I rang him as I was trying to locate the mother of my ex in order to arrange to hand back my son to his mother through this woman following the arrest of my ex for casuing crminal damage to my home.This is obviously not harassment.Regards the father,I texted him ONCE telling him his daughter was stopping me from seeing my son and could he help.This is not harassment.
As far as Im aware my ex made unproven claims me for harassment.Therefore this leaves the mother of my ex who because of her daughter only, provided the main and only source of proof.That was a message I left on her answer machine which in my opinion was wrongly deemed as harassment due to the content.The claim of harassment was also made at the police station in her home town which is 15 miles away from the home town of my ex.

My question is if the mother of my ex has made the main complaint through her local station and has the only real proof of harassment then surely the warning should have been issued against me not to contact her as opposed
to the whole family ?
Basically my ex had no credible proof of her own so she took her complaint to the local police of her mother and used that answer machine message to make the complaint of harassment.The message itself was an account of the events leading to the arrest of my ex in which she had called my mother a 'F....W...'
Although I was only quoting what my ex said the officer dealing with this deemed that as being 'foul and abusive' somehow.Although when I spoke to him it was obvious he thought I was saying the daughter had called my mother a 'W...' and that I had thrown in the 'F....' prompting him to declare this as being abusive.

P.S I taped the conversations with my ex when she insulted my mother and the conversation with the officer on a dictaphone.

Edited by Tony2010, 17 October 2010 - 09:21 AM.


#15 Trouble01

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:15 PM

I deal with this sort of thing all the time...What happened for the person concerned go to the police to report you for harrassment. If it just a text asking about kids etc, then this is not harrassment..like others have said it has to be a course of behaviour..happening on at least two seperate occasions.
It cannot be retracted, as if the behaviour continues after the warning has been issued the person causing the harassment could then be arrested.
i don't know the circumstances of why the other person would want a warning issued and then have it retracted, so I cannot comment on your specific situation.

#16 Tony2010

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:36 PM

Trouble 01 my previous posts explain everything.
Would appreciate your thoughts.

#17 Bruce1977

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:22 PM

You have said that you are going to complain to PSD. To be honest, if I were in your situation I would do the same.

I would not be happy with the wording and I would make a complaint about the specific officer who prepared the warning.

The warning, as drafted, is far too proscriptive and ostensibly breaches your rights under Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998 (Right to Respect for Private and Family Life).

There's a world of difference between a warning that says that if you continue to contact X it may be construed as harassment and you may be arrested, and one that says that you must not contact X. The relevant Acts do not give the police the power to issue restraining orders in such form. It is a Warning and not a Restraining Order.

Of course Harassment Warnings can be withdrawn or varied.I see no reason though why yours should be rescinded. I would hope that someone more senior to the person who drafted yours will agree to vary it on the basis that it gives you no ability to arrange access to visit your child.

#18 Tony2010

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:30 PM

Thanks Bruce.
I'd already drafted an email to send to the Chief Super and have now added your line on Human Rights etc to give it more credibilty.I have also mentioned your line on Warnings and Restraining orders.

However I'm confused regards as to whether or not an harassment warning can actutally be retracted.You say yes others say no.The police I have spoken to on the phone couldn't even say one way or the other.
Why do you say you see no reason as to why it should be rescinded? Do you then agree I should have received the warning for the answer machine message?

Regards this sentence:
There's a world of difference between a warning that says that if you continue to contact X it may be construed as harassment and you may be arrested, and one that says that you must not contact X.

If the warning contained wording to match the first part of your sentence,does that mean I would have been free to carry on contacting my ex partner so long as it was not done in an harassing manner?
Is it also not obsurd and technically wrong to issue a warning against me in favour of two members of the family who in no shape or form have received harassment from me and would not even have been with my ex and her mother when discussing the issue with the officer?Thanks

Edited by Tony2010, 17 October 2010 - 10:31 PM.


#19 Tony2010

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

The police don't have power to ban you from contacting someone except in giving bail conditions when you have been arrested and bailed for enquiries.

Devil this is a very significant point of yours which I missed earlier.I wasnt arrested therefore if what you say is correct the wording of the harassment warning should not have said I 'must not'contact the named people.

As the warning also states all contact to my ex partner must be thorugh family solicitiors which over the years would amount to a fortune,the police are therefore imposing a financial penalty on me which surely they can't do? As I dont have a fortune they will then cut dead all of my communication channels to my son which again must go against my human rights.



This is the warning in full:



Hello .......,

Please read and adhere to the following as this is an official warning under the Harassment Act 1997.

A complaint has been received from the ...... family of harassment by yourself who have given accounts to .......Police about your actions against them, which have caused them harassment. They are willing to support a prosecution against you under this act.

From receipt of this letter onwards and to avoid a subsequent prosecution you must not:

· Contact the complainants in any way, either directly or indirectly. (This includes visits to the named person, their immediately family or address). Named people not to contact are ......, ......, ...... and .....

· Telephone the above named person’s home, mobile or workplace contact numbers or any other place the person is likely to be.

· Send text messages, picture messages or emails to any phone, computer or email address the complainants are likely to come into contact with.

· Call out to, intercept or follow any of the mentioned people in any public place.

· Not to attend any address of the above named persons unless a pre-arranged appointment is made via the solicitors.

This list is not exhaustive and any act by you which causes any harassment, alarm or distress to the complainants shall be included. This is due to continuing and escalating domestic problems which have caused distress to the ......... family.

All further contact between you and...... 'my ex partner' about contact and visits with...... 'my son' will now go through family solicitors. There will be no further contact between you and other members of the ......... family such as ........, ....... or ..........

I should point out that ‘indirectly’ shall include any person acting as your servant or agent on your behalf. I would also suggest that if you are in any doubt whatsoever about the conditions as set above, you make contact with a solicitor and discuss this matter with them or email me here

PC .....
Police Constable

Edited by Tony2010, 17 October 2010 - 11:29 PM.


#20 mikeh2000

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 11:49 PM

The police don't have power to ban you from contacting someone except in giving bail conditions when you have been arrested and bailed for enquiries.



Witness intimidation is another.


I don't know what you expect to get by making a complaint; a harassment letter is usually looked at at Inspector level who also looks at all the evidence to hand, so although it's sent by a PC, it's under an Inspectors backing who authorises it. If your simply making contact with regards to your child, then it doesn't fit the definition of harassment, although if they do complain of harassment it puts the officers in a difficult position, depending on what was told them, as they have the power to arrest someone on suspicion of an offence, not actually believe you did it. If they don't arrest when there is a complaint made, then they would end up in trouble that way, so they can't win!

As far as breaching your human rights goes, then they get breached all the time by the Police when they arrest people, do search warrants, search people in public, etc etc, so good luck on that front as if the Police were not allowed to break them(which they are as they can opt out in certain cicumstances) then they wouldn't be allowed to do their job.




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