Public Order Act 1986: Section 4A Prosecutions

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Advisory Team On Legal Matters, Non-Departmental & Cross-Departmental Responsibilities

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many prosecutions have been brought for offences contrary to Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986; and how many of these prosecutions were successful.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State (Criminal Justice System and Law Reform), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

The number of defendants proceeded against and found guilty of offences under Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 in England and Wales, as identified in the Home Office court proceedings database, are shown in the attached table.

Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Office and for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

Statistics for 2004 will be available in autumn this year.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for offences, under the Public Order Act 1988 Section 4A. England and Wales, 1996–2003:

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Offence description Principal

statute

Proceeded

against

Found

guilty

Proceeded

against

Found

guilty

Proceeded

against

Found

guilty

Proceeded

against

Found

guilty

Proceeded

against

Found

guilty

Causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Part I, Section 4A as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 154 100 40 516 295 1,009 493 1,270 716 1,459 730
Racially aggravated causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) * * * * * * 3 2 430 215
Religiously aggravated causing intentional harassment alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) * * * * * * .. .. .. ..
Racially or religiously aggravated causing intentional harassment alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) * * * * * * .. .. .. ..
Total for all offences Public Order Act 1986 100 40 516 295 1,009 493 1,273 718 1,889 945
2000 2001 2002 2003
Offence

description

Principal statute Proceeded against Found

guilty

Proceeded against Found

guilty

Proceeded against Found

guilty

Proceeded against Found

guilty

Causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Part I, Section 4A as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 154 1,390 651 1,451 748 1,442 771 1,566 819
Racially aggravated causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) 771 407 948 448 815 400 835 444
Religiously aggravated causing intentional harassment alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) .. .. .. .. 1 1 13 9
Racially or religiously aggravated causing intentional harassment alarm or distress Public Order Act 1986 Section 4A as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 31(1)(b) and (4) .. .. .. .. 12 18 80 79
Total for all offences Public Order Act 1986 2,161 1,058 2,399 1,196 2,270 1,190 2,494 1,351

* =Not applicable

..=Not available

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.

(2) Staffordshire Police Force was able only to supply a sample of data for magistrates' courts proceedings covering one full week for each quarter for 2000.

Estimates based on this sample are included in the figures, as they are considered sufficiently robust at this high level of anlysis.

Source:

RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

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