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Community Protection Notices – what are they?

Within the Anti-Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 lurk CPNs. They are concerning in the arbitrary manner they may be imposed, the consequences of breaching their terms and the room for intolerance and misuse as with many aspects of legislation regarding so called anti-social behaviour, often not utilised for the reasons debated in Parliament.

Who can issue a protection notice?

Under s43 they can be issued against the individual or an organisation. The test for imposition is wide indeed: an authorised person may issue a community protection notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds that the conduct of the individual or body is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality, and the conduct is unreasonable.

The authorised person includes a constable and a local authority.

The notice should be accompanied with literature on what to do if you are given one and it is a requirement that the behaviour complained of has been met with a written warning and an opportunity to comply before the notice is issued.

Non-compliance of protection notices

Failure to comply with the notice is a criminal offence despite the lack of judicial scrutiny at the point of issue which can be a matter for the discretion of an individual. Public funding for breach of these notices is sometimes available and the offence is not strict liability affording the defence of a reasonable excuse.

Consideration should always be given to the challenge of these notices under 46 not least because breach of the notice is a criminal offence. The recipient will have 21 days from the date the notice is issued to do so at their local Magistrates Court. An appeal will allow proper judicial scrutiny of the necessity for the notice and then if required consideration of the terms both in relation to the nature of the matters required or prohibited and/or the length of time one might be subject to them.

Additionally, if the requirements are anything other than prohibitive in type they cease to apply whilst an appeal is ongoing so a positive duty to have dog muzzled in a public place for example would not be valid for the life of the appeal.

In summary such arbitrary notices should not be allowed to stand without consideration of a challenge so be live to your potential remedies.