Police Powers and Public Order Consultation

The Consultation paper recognises JUSTICE’s previous work recommending reform of Section 5, Public Order Act 1986 (“POA”). In our response to the previous consultation on this issue in 2009, we called for broad reform of Section 5 and indicated that the removal of the “insulting” element of the offence should be at a minimum accompanied by guidance to the police designed to prevent the offence being charged in circumstances where prosecution was not in the public interest and to prevent the offence being used to trigger arrest in connection with instances of low level anti-social behaviour. Since this consultation in 2009, we have continued to recommend Section 5 POA be subject to repeal or reform. In our briefings on the Protection of Freedoms Bill we have proposed amendments for this purpose.