|Serious Organised Crime And Police Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Part 2: Accredited persons
265. This Part lists the new powers that can be conferred on persons accredited under a community safety accreditation scheme under section 41 of the Police Reform Act 2002 by a chief officer. The powers set out in this Part add to those that may be conferred on accredited persons which are listed in Schedule 5 to the Police Reform Act 2002 (as amended by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003). The new powers include a power to direct traffic and a power to deal with begging. Additional powers for accredited persons will enable them to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour and will help in their community safety role.
266. Paragraph 14 amends paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 5 to the Police Reform Act 2002 and will give an accredited person the power to require the name and address of a person that he believes has committed an offence under Sections 3 or 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824. Any person who refuses to give their name and address on request is guilty of an offence punishable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
267. Paragraphs 15 and 16 insert paragraphs 3A and 8B into Schedule 5 to the Police Reform Act 2002. These make equivalent provision in respect of accredited persons as paragraphs 4 and 6 do for community support officers by enabling them to direct traffic and to require the name and address of a person who fails to follow directions.
268. Paragraph 17 extends the power to accredited persons to photograph a person to whom they have issued a fixed penalty notice.
Schedule 9: Additional powers and duties of designated persons
269. Schedule 9 makes a number of amendments to Schedule 4 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which enables the Chief Officer of police to appoint suitable and appropriately trained civilians as Community Support Officers (CSOs), Designated Officers (investigation, detention or escort officers) or Accredited Persons.
270. Schedule 9 clarifies their position of CSOs and Escort Officers of having legal custody of a suspect under their control until the individual has been transferred into the custody of a police officer. In additional the amendments enable the CSO to use reasonable force to keep the individual under control and prevent him from escaping from their custody.
271. The schedule also places a general duty on Investigation and Detention Officers to assist officers or other designated staff to keep control of a detainee or prevent him from escaping, regardless of whether that individual is under their control at the time and enables the designated officer to use reasonable force. In the case of investigation and detention officers the use of these powers can only be used in the confines of the police station, however, for Escort Officers the powers extend to the immediate vicinity of the police station.
272. The clause also provides that an investigating officer may apply for and execute warrants issued under section 26 of the Theft Act 1968 and section 23(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These warrants permit investigating officers to search persons and to enter premises and to seize stolen goods and controlled drugs related to offences and documents relating to drugs offences. A warrant will only be granted under section 26 of the 1968 Act where a justice of the peace is satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that stolen goods are in a person's custody or are being stored on a premises. A warrant will only be granted under section 23(3) of the 1971 Act where a justice of the peace is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that controlled drugs are being possessed unlawfully by a person on a premises or documents related to a drugs offence are present on those premises. Investigating officers will not be able to use force to enter those premises unless they are in the company and under the supervision of a constable, unless they are entering for the purpose of saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property.
Clause 114: Provision of information for use by police staff
273. This clause amends section 71 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and sections 18 and 36 of the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001. It gives police civilian staff and civilian staff of the British Transport Police the same access to data under those provisions as police officers already have. For this purpose, police civilian staff are persons, other than police officers, employed by a police authority and under the direction and control of the relevant force's chief officer. Civilian staff of the British Transport Police are persons employed by the British Transport Police Authority and under the direction and control of the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Force.
274. The clause enables civilian staff, in the course of their existing duties and to the extent permitted by the three legislative provisions being amended, to examine certain information regarding drivers' licences and the validity of such licences, to examine information contained in the register of persons carrying on business as registration plate suppliers and to examine certain motor insurance information.
Clause 115: Interpretation of Part 3
275. This clause explains that each mention of the term "PACE" in Part 3 refers to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Part 4: Public order and conduct in public places etc.
Clause 116: Harassment intended to deter lawful activities
276. A number of companies have been granted injunctions under section 3 of the Protection from Harassment Act to protect their employees from harassment by animal rights protestors. Despite this, it is not clear how far the 1997 Act can be used to protect employees of a company or a company itself.
277. Section 1 of the 1997 Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which that person knows amounts to harassment of the other. Section 3 provides a civil remedy which enables a victim to seek an injunction against a person who is harassing them or may be likely to do so. To secure a conviction under section 1 it needs to be proven that there is a course of conduct in which one person harassed another. The courts have applied a strict interpretation of the word "another" on at least two occasions which has confined the application of this provision to harassment of individuals and thus it is unclear how far employees of a company can benefit from this provision when they have not previously themselves been harassed even though a fellow employee has been.
278. This clause seeks to address this. Subsection (2) amends section 1 of the 1997 Act by inserting a new subsection (1A) which makes it an offence for a person to pursue a course of conduct involving the harassment of two or more persons on separate occasions which he knows or ought to know involves harassment and the purpose of which is to persuade any person (not necessarily one of the persons being harassed) not to do something he is entitled to do or to do something he is not under any obligation to do.
279. Subsection (5) amends section 3 of the 1997 Act by inserting a new section 3A to apply where there is an actual or apprehended breach of new subsection 1 (1A). Subsection 3A (2) defines who can apply to the High Court or county court for an injunction, namely the person who is the victim of the course of conduct or any person at whom the persuasion is aimed. In other words, where people who work for a particular company are being harassed in order to persuade them not to work for that company, or in order to persuade the company not to supply another company, either the employees themselves or the company in question could apply for an injunction.
280. Subsection (7) amends the definition of course of conduct in section 7(3) to clarify that in relation to two or more persons, course of conduct means conduct on at least one occasion in relation to each person.
Clause 117: Harassment etc of a person in his home
281. Subsection (1) inserts a new section 42A after section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to create a new offence of harassment etc of a person in his home.
282. Currently, section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 gives the police the power to issue a direction to any person who is outside or in the vicinity of a person's home and who they reasonably believe is there to represent to the resident or persuade the resident to do or not to do something he is entitled to do and his presence amounts to or is likely to cause the resident harassment, alarm or distress.
283. The new offence criminalises behaviour of broadly the same kind as that which currently enables the police to issue a direction under section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.
284. Section 42A (1) (a) to (d) sets out the four ingredients of the new offence which need to be proved. A person will commit an offence if (i) he is present outside or in the vicinity of any premises that are used as a dwelling; (ii) he is there to represent to the resident or another individual, or persuade the resident or another individual, that he should not to do something he is entitled to do or should do something he is not obliged to do; (iii) the person intends his presence to amount to harassment, alarm or distress to the resident or knows or ought to know that his presence is likely to do so; and (iv) his presence amounts to or is likely to result in harassment of the resident or another individual.
285. Section 42A (2) defines the individuals who can be subjected to harassment by a person under subsection (1) - namely, the resident, someone in the resident's dwelling or a person in a nearby dwelling, for example a neighbour.
286. Section 42A (3) clarifies that a person's presence in subsections (1) (c) and (d) can be a person's presence on his own or with other people.
287. Section 42A(5) sets out the penalty for the offence under subsection (1) (subsection (5)).
288. Section 42A (7) clarifies that "dwelling" in section 42A has the same meaning as in Part 1 of the Public Order Act 1986 - "any structure or part of a structure occupied as a person's home or as other living accommodation (whether the occupation is separate or shared with others) but does not include any part not so occupied.." (subsection (6)).
289. Subsection (2) is a transitional provision which takes into account the alteration of penalties for summary offences in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Until section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes into force, the custodial penalty for the new offence will be 6 months.
290. Subsection (3) provides a constable in uniform with a power to arrest anyone who he reasonably suspects is committing or has committed an offence under section 42A. By virtue of subsection (4) this arrest power will cease to have effect on the commencement of clause 101 of this Act which provides a new arrest regime for offences
Clause 118: Harassment etc: police direction to stay away from person's home
291. Clause 118 amends section 42 (as it stands at present) of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to make it an offence for a person subject to a direction to leave the vicinity, to return within a period of up to 3 months, the precise length of time to be specified by a constable, for the purposes of representing to or persuading a person not to do something he is entitled to do, or to do something he is not obliged to do.
292. It is doubtful whether a direction issued by a police officer under section 42 could lawfully direct a person to stay away from the premises for anything other than a relatively short period of time. Clause 118 clarifies this.
293. Subsection (2) substitutes a new section 42(4) of the 2001 Act, which sets out the requirements that may be imposed by a direction. This gives a police constable the discretion either to require someone only to leave the vicinity of the premises in question, or to leave the vicinity and not to return to it within a specified period of up to 3 months.
294. The effect of subsections (3) and (4) of clause 118 is to create different offences and penalties for non compliance with a direction, depending on the requirements imposed by the direction.
295. Subsection (3) amends subsection 42(7), which is the current offence and penalty for knowingly contravening a direction given by a constable, to make it clear that the offence in 42(7) does not apply to situations where a requirement to leave the vicinity and not to return within a specified period has not been complied with.
296. Subsection (4) inserts new subsection (7A) to create a new offence of failure to comply with a direction to leave the vicinity and not to return within a specified period for the purposes of representing to or persuading the resident that he should do something or not to do something. Subsection (7B) sets out the penalty for an offence committed under subsection (7A).
297. Subsection (5) is a transitional provision which takes into account the alteration of penalties for summary offences in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Until section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes into force, the custodial penalty for the new offence will be 6 months.
Clause 119 and Schedule 10: Racial and religious hatred
298. This clause gives effect to Schedule 10, which amends Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 to extend the existing offences of stirring up racial hatred to the stirring up of religious hatred. Some religious groups, such as Sikhs and Jews, as distinct ethnic groups already benefit from the protection of the existing Part III offences while other groups who may be and have been targeted for their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs are ethnically diverse and so are excluded from the scope of these offences. The amendments are designed to ensure that the criminal law protects all groups having religious hatred stirred up against them, regardless of whether members of that group share a common ethnic background.
299. The new offence of stirring up religious hatred will apply only in England and Wales.
300. Paragraph 2 amends the heading of Part III of the Public Order Act to Racial and Religious Hatred
301. Paragraph 3 inserts a new section 17A to the Act to define "religious hatred". The definition is designed to cover hatred against a wide range of religious beliefs but does not seek to define what amounts to a religion or a religious belief. It will be for the courts to determine whether a religion or belief falls within this definition.
302. The reference to "religious belief or lack of religious belief" is a broad one, and is in line with the freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 9 ECHR. It includes, though this list is not definitive, those religions widely recognised in this country such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Rastafarianism, Baha'ism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. Equally, branches or sects within a religion can be considered as religions or religious beliefs in their own right. The offences also cover hatred directed against groups defined by reference to a lack of religious belief, such as Atheism and Humanism. The offences are designed to include hatred against a group where the hatred is not directed against the religious beliefs of the group or even to a lack of any religious belief but to the fact that the group do not share the particular religious beliefs of the perpetrator.
303. Paragraphs 5 to 9 amend the offences in the 1986 Act relating to acts intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. These offences are the use of words or display of material (section 18), publishing or distributing written material (section 19), the public performance of a play (section 20), distributing, showing or playing a recording (section 21) and broadcasting or including a programme in a programme service (section 22).
304. A person can commit each of these offences if he intends to stir up racial hatred or having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up. Paragraphs 5 to 9 amend these offences so that they apply in addition to the stirring up of religious hatred. The third subparagraph of each of paragraphs 5 to 9 also amends the second part of each of the existing offences so that the offence is now committed if the words, behaviour, material, play, recording, broadcast or programme service is likely to be seen or heard by a person in whom it is likely that racial hatred would be stirred up.
305. The words, behaviour, written material or recordings or programme must be both threatening, abusive or insulting and intended or likely to stir up racial hatred; that is hatred of a group of persons defined by their beliefs or lack of religious beliefs. Hatred is a strong term. The offences will not encompass material that just stirs up ridicule or prejudice or causes offence. Further what must be stirred up is hatred of a group of persons defined by their religious beliefs and not hatred of the religion itself. Of themselves, criticism or expressions of antipathy or dislike of particular religions or their adherents will not be caught by the offence.
306. Paragraph 11 makes similar changes to the offence in section 23 of the 1986 Act that makes it an offence to possess material with a view to it being used to stir up racial hatred by applying it in addition to material that is likely to stir up religious hatred. .
307. Paragraph 12 amends section 29 of the 1986 Act (interpretation) to give religious hatred the meaning set out in the new section 17A.
Clause 120: Offence of trespassing on designated site
308. This clause creates a criminal offence of trespassing on sites designated by order by the Secretary of State. Subsection (3) (a) to (c) specify the grounds on which the Secretary of State may designate a site. The Secretary of State may designate a site if (a) it is Crown land (defined in subsections (8) and (9)), (b) it is privately owned by either the Monarch or the immediate heir to the Throne, or (c) it appears to the Secretary of State that it is right to do so for the purposes of national security.
309. Subsection (4) provides a defence to a person charged with an offence under this section whilst subsection (6) states proceedings may not be brought against a person for this offence without the consent of the relevant Attorney General.
Clause 121: Designated sites: powers of arrest
310. This clause gives a constable in England and Wales a power to arrest without warrant an individual who he reasonably suspects is committing or has committed an offence under clause 120. Once clause 101 is in force, this will not apply. A similar power in respect of Northern Ireland is achieved by subsection (2) which states that an offence under clause 120 is an arrestable offence under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.
Clause 122: Designated sites: access
311. This clause disapplies the application of various public access rights in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to land which is the subject of a designation order made under clause 120(2). Subsection (1) lists the public access legislation, namely section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and Part III of the Countryside (Northern Ireland) Order 1983. Subsection (2) permits the Secretary of State to take any necessary steps to inform members of the public of the effect of the designation order, including in particular displaying notices on or near the relevant site. Subsections (3) and (4) set out the circumstances in which the Secretary of State may take such steps.
Clause 123: Directions as to behaviour in vicinity of Parliament
312. Subsection (1) allows the senior police officers to give directions which are set out in subsection (3) if he reasonably believes that a person is behaving in a way set out in subsection (2) that is
313. Subsection (3) clarifies that the senior police officer may give a direction to any person behaving or proposing to behave in the way set out in subsection (2) or to any person organising or directing such behaviour.
314. Subsection (4) sets out the requirements which may be contained in a direction. It must appear to the senior police officer that these requirements are reasonably necessary to prevent any of the results set out in subsection (2). The requirements are that the behaviour
315. Subsection (5) defines "senior police officer" as the most senior in rank at the scene if notice has been given in advance to any police station in the Metropolitan Police, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
316. Subsection (6) clarifies that a direction takes effect at the time specified in the direction which may be immediately and has the effect for a period specified in the direction which must not exceed three months.
317. Subsection (7) clarifies that a direction may specify different conditions relating to different periods of time.
318. Subsection (8) clarifies that if the direction is given in advance by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is should be in writing.
319. Subsection (9) allows "the designated area" to be defined in an order made by the Secretary of State. Subsection (10) states that the designated area may be no more than one kilometre from Parliament Square. Subsection (11) provides exemptions for lawful industrial disputes and public processions.
Clause 124: Section 123: offences
320. Subsection (1) makes it an offence not to comply with a direction. Subsection (2) creates a defence if a person can prove that failure arose from causes beyond his control. Subsection (3) creates an offence of inciting a person to contravene a direction.
321. Subsections (4) and (5) set out the penalties for the offences under subsections 1 and 3.
322. Subsection (6) provides a constable in uniform with a power to arrest anyone whom he reasonably suspects is committing or has committed an offence under Subsection (1). This arrest power will cease to have effect on the commencement of clause 101 of this Bill which provides a new arrest regime for offences.
Clause 125: Orders about anti-social behaviour etc
323. This clause amends the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Subsection (2) provides that in proceedings for breach of an anti-social behaviour order pursuant to section 1(10), a copy of the court order as granted (including any maps and details of any prohibitions) can be put before the court as evidence that an order has been made, without the need for a statement formally proving the making of the original order.
324. Subsection (3) amends section 1(1A) to provide an order making power enabling the Secretary of State to add to the list of "relevant authorities" that may apply for anti-social behaviour orders. Subsection (4) provides that the court can adjourn the proceedings for consideration of a section 1C order. This adjournment can take place after sentence has been passed.
325. Subsection (6) to (9) gives the court the power to grant an interim order under section 1C pending a full hearing.
326. Subsection (10) provides that the court can adjourn the proceedings for consideration of a Football Banning Order as set out in Section 14A of the Football Spectators Act 1989. This adjournment can take place after sentence has been passed.
Clause 126: Variation and discharge of anti-social behaviour orders made on conviction
327. This clause also amends the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Subsection (4) inserts new section 1CA which allows a "relevant authority" as set out in section 1(1A) or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to apply to vary or discharge a section 1C order.
328. New subsection 1CA (4) provides that no section 1C order shall be discharged before two years have passed since the date of the order without the consent of the defendant and the DPP. This is replicating the same principle that exists for section 1 and 1B orders, where the two parties to the application have to consent (section 1(18)).
|© Parliamentary copyright 2004||Prepared: 24 November 2004|