Simply swearing at a police officer has never really been an offence. It would be a delicate wall flower of a PC who was harassed, alarmed or distressed simply by a yob swearing at them.
Swearing at a police officer when someone nearby could be caused harassment alarm or distress was and still is. In that case the judge ruled that the only people nearby, a group of youths would not have been so caused.
I am not condoning in any way swearing at the police. I could not be one as my lack of tolerance of such behaviour would soon get me into trouble. The lack of respect shown by some to the police appals me and I fully support them in every way. I think that the judge was wrong on this one.