Malicious Communications Act 1988: Prosecutions

Home Department written question – answered on 20th April 2009.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions of (a) men and (b) women in each age group have taken place under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 in each police force area in each year since the Act came into force; and how many of those prosecutions related to anti-Semitic material.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (also in the Home Office), Home Office, Minister of State (also in the Home Office), HM Treasury

Data provided by the Ministry of Justice, showing the number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act in England and Wales, by police force area, sex and age, from 2002 to 2007 are in the following table. Court proceedings data for 2008 will be available in the autumn of 2009. The data provided cannot separately identify court proceedings relating to anti-Semitic material

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Earlier data on prosecutions under the Act are not available because before 2002, data on this offence were reported to the Ministry of Justice as a part of a miscellaneous group which could not be separated.

Number of persons proceeded against under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act, broken down by police force area, sex and age, England and Wales, 2002 to 2007( 1,)( )( 2)
Force Sex Age 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Avon and Somerset Male 10 to 17 2 1
18 and over 1 3 5 6 8
Total 1 3 5 8 9
Female 10 to 17 1 2 1
18 and over 1 2 4
Total 1 1 4 5
Total 1 3 1 6 12 14
Bedfordshire Male 18 and over 3 3
Total 3 3
Total 3 3
Cambridgeshire Male 18 and over 2 1
Total 2 1
Female 18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1
Total 3 2
Cheshire Male 18 and over 1 1 3 4
Total 1 1 3 4
Female 18 and over 2
Total 2
Total 1 1 5 4
City of London Male 18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1
Total 1 1
Cleveland Male 18 and over 2 1 2
Total 2 1 2
Total 2 1 2
Cumbria Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 1 2 1 4 2
Total 1 1 2 1 4 3
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 2 1 2 1
Total 3 1 2 1
Total 4 2 2 3 4 4
Derbyshire Male 18 and over 1 1 2 6
Total 1 1 2 6
Female 10 to 17 1 1
18 and over 1
Total 1 1 1
Total 2 1 3 7
Devon and Cornwall Male 10 to 17 1 2 2
18 and over 2 3 3 1 5 9
Total 2 3 3 2 7 11
Female 10 to 17 1 1
18 and over 1 1 3 3 1
Total 1 1 3 4 2
Total 3 4 6 6 7 13
Dorset Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1
Total 2
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 1 2
Durham Male 18 and over 1 3
Total 1 3
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 1 4
Essex Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 2 1 4 7 2
Total 1 2 1 4 8 2
Female 18 and over 1 2
Total 1 2
Total 2 2 1 4 8 4
Gloucestershire Male 18 and over 3 1 1 1 1
Total 3 1 1 1 1
Total 3 1 1 1 1
Greater Manchester Male 10 to 17 1 1 1 1
18 and over 1 3 3 3 7 7
Total 1 4 3 4 8 8
Female 18 and over 1 2 2
Total 1 2 2
Total 1 4 3 5 10 10
Hampshire Male 10 to 17 1 1
18 and over 1 3 1 2 7
Total 1 3 1 3 8
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1
Total 1 1
Total 1 4 2 3 8
Hertfordshire Male 10 to 17 1 1 4
18 and over 1 5 1 3 10 9
Total 1 6 1 4 10 13
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 3
Total 1 1 3
Total 1 6 1 5 11 16
Humberside Male 10 to 17 1 1
18 and over 1 1 5 3 4
Total 1 1 6 4 4
Total 1 1 6 4 4
Kent Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 2 1 1 2
Total 2 1 2 2
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 2 1 2 1 2
Lancashire Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 2 2 2 6
Total 1 2 2 1 2 6
Female 18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1
Total 2 2 2 1 2 7
Leicestershire Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 2 2 7 13 1
Total 2 3 7 13 1
Female 18 and over 1 1 1
Total 1 1 1
Total 3 4 8 13 1
Lincolnshire Male 18 and over 1 1 1 5 4
Total 1 1 1 5 4
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 3 1
Total 4 1
Total 1 1 1 9 5
Merseyside Male 18 and over 1 5
Total 1 5
Total 1 5
Metropolitan Police Male 10 to 17 1 2 1 1
18 and over 14 14 20 16 15 26
Total 14 15 22 17 15 27
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 4 3 2 3 1
Total 4 3 2 4 1
Total 18 18 24 21 15 28
Norfolk Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 3 3
Total 1 3 3 1
Total 1 3 3 1
North Yorkshire Male 18 and over 1 1 10
Total 1 1 10
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1
Total 1 1
Total 2 1 11
Northamptonshire Female 18 and over 2
Total 2
Total 2
Northumbria Male 10 to 17 2
18 and over 1 1 2 3 5 10
Total 1 1 2 3 5 12
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 2 5
Total 1 2 5
Total 1 1 2 4 7 17
Nottinghamshire Male 10 to 17 3
18 and over 1 1 3 4 1 4
Total 1 1 3 4 4 4
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 1 1 3 4 4 5
South Yorkshire Male 18 and over 2 1 3
Total 2 1 3
Total 2 1 3
Staffordshire Male 18 and over 1 3 4 3 3
Total 1 3 4 3 3
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 1 4 4 3 3
Suffolk Male 10 to 17 1 2
18 and over 2 3 5 3
Total 2 3 1 5 5
Female 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1 1
Total 2 4 2 5 6
Surrey Male 18 and over 2 5 3
Total 2 5 3
Total 2 5 3
Sussex Male 18 and over 1
Total 1
Female 18 and over 1 2
Total 1 2
Total 1 3
Thames Valley Male 18 and over 6 9 5 5 6
Total 6 9 5 5 6
Female 18 and over 2 1 1 2
Total 2 1 1 2
Total 6 11 6 6 8
Warwickshire Male 18 and over 1 2 2
Total 1 2 2
Female 10 to 17 1
Total 1
Total 1 3 2
West Mercia Male 18 and over 1 2 3 4 9
Total 1 2 3 4 9
Female 18 and over 1 1 1
Total 1 1 1
Total 1 3 4 5 9
West Midlands Male 10 to 17 1 1 1
18 and over 7 3 5 5 10 7
Total 7 4 5 6 10 8
Female 18 and over 2 2 1
Total 2 2 1
Total 7 4 5 8 12 9
West Yorkshire Male 18 and over 3 1 6 11
Total 3 1 6 11
Female 18 and over 1 2
Total 1 2
Total 3 1 1 6 13
Wiltshire Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 5
Total 1 6
Female 18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1
Total 1 1 1 6
Dyfed-Powys Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 2 2 1 1
Total 2 2 1 2
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 2 2 2 2
Gwent Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 1 3 3 5
Total 1 3 3 6
Female 18 and over 1
Total 1
Total 1 4 3 6
North Wales Male 18 and over 1 1 1 3 2
Total 1 1 1 3 2
Female 18 and over 2 2
Total 2 2
Total 3 1 1 5 2
South Wales Male 10 to 17 1
18 and over 4 2 1 1 1
Total 4 2 2 1 1
Female 18 and over 1 1
Total 1 1
Total 4 2 3 2 1
England and Wales Male 10 to 17 4 4 9 11 21
18 and over 53 66 78 87 144 194
Total 53 70 82 96 155 215
Female 10 to 17 2 1 1 5 5 3
18 and over 11 7 16 20 22 33
Total 13 8 17 25 27 36
Total 66 78 99 121 182 251
(1 )The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

Evidence and Analysis Unit—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

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