Public order offences

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The page will automatically redirect to Public Order Offences Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on public order offences. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

04.11.2014The August 2011 riots: a statistical summary
This article, published in October 2011, provides a summary of the Ministry of Justice statistical updates produced throughout August and September on those brought before the courts, for offences relating to this public disorder. In October 2011 more detailed statistical publications were released relating to the offences committed and offenders prosecuted.
08.03.2013Crime and Courts Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report
The Crime and Courts Bill would, amongst other things, establish a new National Crime Agency, change the law on self defence for householders defending themselves from intruders, make changes to community sentences and immigration appeal rights and introduce a new drug driving offence. The Government made a number of substantive amendments in Committee, including on bailiffs, proceeds of crime and extradition.
15.01.2013"Insulting words or behaviour": Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
The Government has now announced that it is 'not minded' to challenge a Lords amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill which would remove the word 'insulting' from section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.
26.10.2011Social Indicators
A compendium of the latest social statistics. This edition includes articles: The August 2011 riots: a statistical summary, and Initial proposals for new constituency boundaries.
11.08.2011Policing riots
This note looks at the possible roles of the police and armed forces in controlling riots. A separate Library standard note 6048 deals with compensation and insurance for those affected by riots.
24.03.2011Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill Committee Stage Report [Bill 151 of 2010-11]
During the Committee stage, several Government amendments were made to the provisions on police reform. Some (for example, on police complaints, police and crime plans and disqualifying people convicted of imprisonable offences from becoming or being police and crime commissioners) were on matters of substance. By contrast, there were only minor amendments to the provisions of the misuse of drugs and no substantive amendments to the parts of the Bill covering licensing, protests in Parliament Square or universal jurisdiction.
23.09.2010Anti-social behaviour: a select bibliography
03.08.2010Anti-social Behaviour Orders
The Home Secretary Theresa May criticised ASBOs in a speech in July 2010. Her criticisms were rejected by former Labour Home Secretaries. ASBOs were introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1988. Their use was slow to start with, but peaked in 2005 before declining again. Some commentators argue that authorities are using alternative remedies. Evaluations have highlighted the relatively high breach rate, but also their role in deterring anti-social behaviour. Publication of a Home Office review is awaited.
03.06.2010Protests around Parliament
For many years, there have been special provisions applying to protests in the vicinity of Parliament. These used to be contained in sessional orders to the police. Then, mainly in response to concerns about the long-term protest by Brian Haw in Parliament Square against Government policy in Iraq, new provisions in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 made it a criminal offence to demonstrate without authorisation in the vicinity of Parliament and allowed the police to impose conditions on demonstrators. Demonstrators have to give notice, and if this notice complies with the legal requirements, the police have to give authorisation, but conditions may be imposed on the demonstration.Provisions in the Constitutional Reform and Government Bill, which is currently awaiting its second reading in the Commons, would, if enacted, repeal provisions introduced in 2005 restricting protests in the vicinity of Parliament. However, a new framework would be introduced by regulations under the Bill.
07.12.2009Policing of marches and demonstrations
While the European convention on Human Rights confers a number of rights relevant to protests and demonstrations, these are not absolute, and the police have a wide range of powers to control protesters. The Public Order Act 1986 imposes requirements on those organising marches and demonstrations and contains a number of public order offences. There are also powers in other Acts and common law powers. This note does not cover porests around Parliament which are the subject of a separate Library Standard Note.

Lords Library Notes

07.04.2011Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill (HL Bill 62 of 2010-11)
This Library Note provides background reading for the second reading debate of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Early Day Motions

That this House notes with concern the recent misinterpretation by Lancashire Police officers of public order legislation that resulted in police officers visiting a Christian cafe ...
That this House regrets the recent shooting of more than 40 people in Deraa by Syrian government forces; notes that the dictator Mr Assad runs one of the most repressive and brutal ...
That this House notes that Anjem Choudary, the UK leader of al-Muhajiroun, plans to stage a march through Wootton Bassett town carrying empty coffins as a protest against Britain's ...
That this House is dismayed both by the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to proceed in the case against Periklis Antoniou, charged with breaching section 5 of the Public ...
That this House calls on the Government to make it its policy to amend the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill in order to ensure that the protections provided in the Bill for NHS ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses