Merseyside Police have released a statement to clarify a campaign message used over the weekend.
The message was displayed on an ad van in Birkenhead on Saturday afternoon and read: “being offensive is an offence.”
The ad van was part of a campaign led by the Local Policing Team in Wirral to encourage residents to report hate crime.
However, residents criticised the message on social media and argued that it was not a criminal offence.
In a statement, Superintendent Martin Earl said: “We would like to clarify that being offensive is not in itself an offence.
“A message on an ad van and social media this weekend by the Local Policing Team on the Wirral to encourage people to report hate crime although well intentioned was incorrect and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused.”
To find out more on how to report hate crime visit www.merseyside.police.uk.