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New sentencing guidelines regarding public order offences

The Sentencing Council publishes seven definitive guidelines for use in court while sentencing offenders for public order offences


15 October 2019
New sentencing guidelines regarding public order offences

The Sentencing Council has published guidelines to be used by all courts in England and Wales when sentencing offenders, ranging from low level disorderly behaviour to widespread public disorder. The guidelines, which apply to offenders aged 18 years or over, will come into effect on 1 January 2020 and provide guidance for existing offences under the Public Order Act 1986:

  • Riot
  • Violent Disorder
  • Affray
  • Threatening or provocation of violence and the racially or religiously aggravated counterpart offences
  • Disorderly behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress and the racially or religiously aggravated counterpart offences
  • Disorderly behaviour causing or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress and the racially or religously aggravated counterpart offences
  • Offences relating to stirring up racial or religious hatred and hatred based on sexual orientation

 

Responding to the publication of the guidelines, John Bache, National Chair of the Magistrates Association, said:

'The MA welcomes the newly published Sentencing Council guidelines on public order offences, which will provide magistrates with useful assistance in responding to these cases. These guidelines cover a wide range of offences, including some of the highest volume offences seen by courts. It is therefore very positive to have a clear guideline for sentencers, relying on an evidence base to highlight some of the key factors to be taken into account.

'We welcome the approach taken in relation to the consultation, with the Sentencing Council providing detailed feedback in response to all comments. Even where MA suggestions were not taken forward, by explaining their reasoning, the Sentencing Council have given greater clarity and understanding about the final guidelines, which can only help ensure consistent sentencing.'

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