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Public Order

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What is Public Order?

Public Order is identified as individual or group acts which interfere with society and the ability of others to function effectively. Behaviour that goes against the collective normal, agreed social values and customs.

Public order really means that the actions of a group of individuals should not impinge on the rights and convenience of any other group.

The Open University have defined Public Order as “the quiet and orderly behaviour of people in public space. It involves people behaving sensibly and rationally, and respecting others”. Whilst the Crown Prosecution Service defines a public order offence as an “act that involves the use of violence and/ or intimidation by individuals or groups”.

Public Order includes riots, affray, drunk and disorderly behaviour, violent disorder. It can include firearms, offensive weapons, violence, hate crime, harassment, extremism and gang behaviour. In addition, assaults on emergency services are also included within Public Order.

Crowd management is a key part of maintaining Public Order. “Crowd management is the focus of policing large-scale national and regional events, and routine local community events. It includes the policing of planned and spontaneous public events (such as protest and football) and the policing of any events or trigger incidents which result in, or may result in, public disorder.” (College of Policing)

They are seen as precursors to, or part of, other offenses.

Magistrates Courts Act 1980: can bind over to keep the peace or be of good behaviour towards a person who has raised a complaint about the individual.

  • Most Public Order training is provided within the Justice system.
  • Cumbria Police

Public Order Training & Fire Training on new area (YouTube)

  • Sussex Police

Public order demonstrating brick tactics (YouTube)

Useful Links

College of Policing – Public Order

Visit the Website

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

Unlike other areas linked to anti-social behaviour, public order is reported to the Police on 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency. It can also be reported online to the local Police force, South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police, Gwent Police or North Wales Police. Providing evidence before action can be taken may still apply, ask who you are reporting to what information/ evidence they will need. Increasingly some are utilising Apps.

ASB Help provide information and advice to those impacted by anti-social behaviour in Wales and England. They also have information on who to report to, such as Local Authorities, Police and Housing Associations.

Victim Support provide support for victims of all crimes. Crimestoppers can be used to report anonymously.

The courts may make a Bind Over Order to respond to low-level disorder. They postpone a sentence under a set of conditions.