Public Order offences under the Public Order Act 1986 range considerably, and essentially include any offence that could cause “alarm and distress” to a member of the public. There are also racially and religiously aggravated public order offences, which is where the offending includes a racial or religious aspect.

There are new sentencing guidelines for public order offences that came into effect on the 1st January 2020, and these guidelines provide guidance for the offences under the Public Order Act 1986. These guidelines are designed so that all courts have a clear framework to ensure consistent sentencing for these offences across the country, and apply to defendants aged 18 or over.

The new sentencing guidelines may therefore affect the length of sentences given for some of these offences:

For example, for the racially and religiously aggravated public order offences, sentencing is now based upon the level of racial or religious aggravation involved. Judges and Magistrates are now instructed to sentence on the basic offence and then uplift the sentence (increase it) based upon the aggravating features of the case. This reflects the Court of Appeal’s guidance on the sentencing of racially and religiously aggravated offences, similar to how the offences of Arson and Criminal Damage are sentenced.

As such, it is therefore possible that the new guidelines could cause an increase in the sentences imposed for these aggravated offences.

If you ever find yourself accused of such an offence, it is recommended that you seek legal advice to see how these new sentencing guidelines may affect your case.

At Paul Robinson Solicitors we specialise in all types of criminal matters. We are readily available to cover police interviews under caution or on a voluntary basis, as well as Magistrates and Crown Court hearings. You are entitled to free and independent legal advice at the police station if you are being interviewed. We offer a friendly, professional and non-judgmental approach to all clients at a critical time.

If you find yourself in such a situation where you are being accused of such an offence, please call 01702 338338 or our out-of-office number 01702 342525 which is available 24 hours a day. We have offices in Westcliff, Benfleet, Billericay (01277 500123) and Stratford (020 8049 5888).

This article does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice. If you require specialist advice on this topic, please contact us to discuss how we may assist you.