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The Public Order Act 1986 (c 64) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of public order offences. They replace similar common law offences and parts of the Public Order Act 1936. It implements recommendations of the Law Commission.
Part 1 - New offences
Section 1 - Riot
Section 2 - Violent disorder
Section 3 - Affray
Section 4 - Fear or provocation of violence
Section 4A - Intentional harassment, alarm or distress
added by section 154 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Section 5 - Harassment, alarm or distress
Section 8 - Interpretation
This section defines the what is a dwelling “dwelling” and “violence”.
Section 9 - Offences abolished
Section 9(1) abolished the common law offences of riot, rout, unlawful assembly and affray.
Section 9(2) abolished the offences under:
section 1 of the Tumultuous Petitioning Act 1661
section 1 of the Shipping Offences Act 1793
section 23 of the Seditious Meetings Act 1817
section 5 of the Public Order Act 1936
Part 2 - Processions and assemblies
Section 11 - Advance notice of public processions
requires at least 6 clear days' written notice to be given to the police before most public processions, including details of the intended time and route, and giving the name and address of at least one person proposing to organise it; creates offences for the organisers of a procession if they do not give sufficient notice, or if the procession diverges from the notified time or route Section 12 - Imposing conditions on public processions
provides police the power to impose conditions on processions “to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community” Section 13 - Prohibiting public processions Chief Police Officer has the power to ban public processions up to three months by applying to local authority for a banning order which needs subsequent confirmation from the Home Secretary. Section 14 - Imposing conditions on public assemblies provides police the power to impose conditions on assemblies “to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community”. The conditions are limited to the specifying of:
the number of people who may take part,
the location of the assembly, and
its maximum duration.\
Section 14A -Prohibiting trespassory assemblies added by section 70 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, to control “raves” Section 16 - Public Assembly Means an assembly of 20 or more persons in a public place which is wholly or partly open to the air. Parts 3 and 3A- Racial and religious hatred If the act is intended to stir up racial hatred Part 3 of the Act creates offences of
use of words or behaviour or display of written material (section 18), publishing or distributing written material (section 19), public performance of a play (section 20), distributing, showing or playing a recording (section 21), broadcasting (section 22). or possession of racially inflammatory material (section 23) Acts intended to stir up religious hatred are proscribed in POA Part 3A by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 (RRHA) with the insertion of new sections 29A to 29N. The RRHA bill, which was introduced by Home Secretary David Blunkett, was amended several times in the House of Lords and ultimately the Blair government was forced to accept the substitute words.
To stir uphatred on the grounds of sexual orientation was to be proscribed by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 in POA Part 3A section 29AB. This legislation was introduced by David Hanson MP.