The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Silly Season Comes Early

The papers are getting excited about some very old news. Section 5 Public Order Act is the street copper's standby for which he can arrest and may issue a Penalty Notice. The offender has to cause 'harassment alarm and distress' and the courts recognised a long time ago that a PC should have a rather thicker skin than some passing grandmother. Most of us see that as common sense (as did a higher court) so the story is a lot of nothing really.

This is what the CPS guidance says:

There must be a person within the sight or hearing of the suspect who is likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress by the conduct in question. A police officer may be such a person, but remember that this is a question of fact to be decided in each case by the magistrates. In determining this, the magistrates may take into account the familiarity which police officers have with the words and conduct typically seen in incidents of disorderly conduct. (DPP v Orum [1988] Crim LR 848)

Seems fair enough to me.