English Legislation

Welcome to the Police legislation section.

This section looks at police law, concentrating on those offences encountered most frequently by Police officers and PCSOs, and details any relevant statute and section for the offence. The Police Law section is continually added to. All efforts are made to keep the police law information up to date and accurate, but police-information.co.uk does not accept liability for the use of the information provided or for any errors or omissions.

Other links and resources you might find helpful are:

The police law list below provides details of many of the commonest offences.

Index

Abandoned Vehicles
Aggravated Vehicle Taking

Bail
Blackmail

Crossbows
Dangerous and Careless Driving
Detention
Drunk and Incapable
Drugs

Excise Licenses
Fireworks
Fraud
Going Equipped
Handling Stolen Goods
Indecency
Knives
Licensed Premises

A  (Back to index)

Abandoned Vehicles

Source: Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 s.2(1)(a)

Offence: It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority, to abandon on any land in the open air, or on any land forming part of a highway.

a) a motor vehicle

b) anything which formed part of a motor vehicle and removed from it in the course of dismantling. 

 

Aggravated Vehicle Taking 

Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 12 a

Offence: It is an offence foe a person, without having the consent of the owner or other lawful authority,
i) to take any conveyance for his own or another's use, or
ii) knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such authority, to drive it or allow himself to be carried in or on it

and, if the conveyance is a mechanically propelled vehicle, at any time after the vehicle was unlawfully taken and before it was recovered, the vehicle was driven, or injury or damage was caused:
i) through the vehicle being driven dangerously on a road or other public place;
ii) through an accident occurring due to the driving of the vehicle; or
iii) to the vehicle.


B
 
(Back to index)

Bail 

1) Source: Bail Act 1976 Section 6(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person who has been released on bail in criminal proceedings to fail without reasonable to surrender custody.

2) Source: Bail Act 1976 Section 6(2)

Offence: It is an offence for a person who
i) has been released on bail in criminal proceedings and
ii) has failed with reasonable cause to surrender to custody.
to fail to surrender to custody at the appointed place as soon after the appointed time as is reasonably practicable.

Arrest: A constable may arrest without warrant where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a bailed person:

i) is not likely to surrender to custody; or 
ii) is likely to break any of the conditions of their bail; or
iii) has broken any of these conditions. Bail Act 1976 Section 7, (3).

Blackmail 

1) Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 21

Offence: It is an offence for a person, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another; to make any unwarranted demand with menaces.

Arrest: Constable has power of arrest.

C  (Back to index)

Crossbows

Source: Crossbows Act 1987

Offence:
Section 1 - (Sale): It is an offence for any person to sell or let on hire a crossbow or part of a crossbow to a person under the age of 17.

Section 2 - (Purchase): It is an offence for any person under the age of 17 to buy or hire a crossbow or part of a crossbow.

Section 3 - (Possession): It is an offence for any person under the age of 17 to have with him a crossbow which is capable of discharging a missile, or parts of a crossbow which together can be assembled to form a crossbow capable of discharging a missile.

D  (Back to index)

Dangerous and Careless Driving/Riding    (Go to the Act)   Endorsements And Disqualifications 

1) Cause death by dangerous driving.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 1

Offence: It is an offence for a person to cause the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or any other public place.

2) Dangerous driving.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 2

Offence: It is an offence for a person to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or any other public place.

3) Driving without due care and attention.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 3

Offence: It is an offence for a person to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or any other public place:

i) without the due care and attention, or
ii) without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or public place.

4) Dangerous cycling.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 28

Offence: It is an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road dangerously.

5) Cycling without due care and attention.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 29

Offence: It is an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.

6) Refusing, or giving false name and address.

Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 168

Offence: It is an offence for a person who is:
i) the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle who is alleged to have committed an offence under s.2 or s.3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988; or

ii) the rider of a cycle who is alleged to have committed an offence under s.28 or s.29.

to refuse, on being required by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, to give his name and address, or give a false name or address.

Powers: Section 1 offence is an arrestable offence. The remaining offences are normally by way of summons unless any of the conditions of s.25 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 are satisfied.

A person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle to do so by a constable in uniform. Section 163, Road Traffic Act 1988.

A person driving a motor vehicle on a road or who, a constable has reasonable cause to believe to have committed an offence in relation to the use of that motor vehicle on a road must, on being required by a constable, produce his licence so as to enable the constable to ascertain the name and address of the holder. Section 164 (1),  Road Traffic Act 1988.

A person required by a constable to produce his licence must, on being so required by the constable, state his date of birth. Section 164 (2),  Road Traffic Act 1988.

Drugs

Exporting

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 3.

Offence: It is an offence for any person to import or to export a controlled drug.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Produce

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 4(2).

Offence: It is an offence for a person to produce controlled drug.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Supply

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 4(3).

Offence: It is an offence for a person:

A) to supply or offer to supply a controlled drug to another; or

B) to be concerned in the supplying of such a drug to another; or

C) to be concerned in the making to another of an offer to supply such a drug.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Possession

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 5(2).

Offence: It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in their possession.

Powers: Arrestable offence. If possession is of a Class C drug then proceeding should be by way of a summons.

Possession with intent to supply

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 5(3).

Offence: It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in their posession, whether lawful or not, with intent to supply it to another.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Cultivate cannabis

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 6.

Offence: It is an offence for a person to cultivate any plant of the genus cannabis.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Occupier/management

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 8.

Offence: It is an offence for a person, being the occupier or concerned in the management of any premises, to knowingly permit or suffer any

A) production or attempted production of a controlled drug;
B) supply, attempt to supply or offer to supply, of a controlled drug;
C) preparation of opium for smoking;
D) smoking of cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Smoking Opium

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 9.

Offence: It is an offence for a person:

A) to smoke or otherwise use prepared opium; or
B) to frequent a place used for the purpose of opium smoking; or
C) to have in their possession:

1) any pipes or other utensils made or adapted for use in connection with the smoking of opium, being pipes or utensils which have been used by him or with his knowledge and permission in that connection or which he intends to use or permit another to use in that connection; or

2) any utensils which have been used by him or with his knowledge and permission in connection with the preparation of opium for smoking.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Supply or offer to supply article

Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 9A.

Offence: It is an offence for a person to supply or offer to supply any article which may be used or adapted to be used in the administration by any person of a controlled drug to himself or another; or which may be used to prepare a controlled drug for administration by any person to himself or another believing that the article is to be so used in circumstances where the administration is unlawful.

Powers: Proceedings should normally be by way of a summons.

E  (Back to index)

Excise Licences    (Go to the Act)

1) Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 29(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person to use or keep, on a public road a vehicle (not being an exempt vehicle) which is unlicensed.

2) Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 33(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person to use or keep, on a public road a vehicle in respect of which vehicle excise duty is chargeable, and there is not fixed to and exhibited on the vehicle in the manner prescribed a licence for, or in respect of, the vehicle which is for the time being in force.

3) Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 37(1)

Offence: It is an offence where

i) a vehicle licence has been taken out for a vehicle at any rate of vehicle excise duty,
ii) at any time while the licence is in force the vehicle is so used that duty at a higher rate becomes chargeable in respect of the license for the vehicle, and
iii) duty at that higher rate is not paid before the vehicle was so used.

4) Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 44(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person to forge, fraudulently alter, fraudulently use, fraudulently lend or fraudulently allow to be used by another person a vehicle licence.

5) Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 45(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person in connection with an application for a vehicle licence or a claim for a rebate to make any declaration which to his knowledge is either false or in any material respect misleading.

F  (Back to index)

Fireworks

1) Source: Town Police Clauses Act 1847 Section 28

Offence: It is an offence for any person, in any street and to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of the residents or passengers, to throw or set fire to any firework

2) Source: Explosives Act 1875 Section 31

Offence: It is an offence for a person to sell gunpowder to any person apparently under the age of 16 years.

3) Source: Explosives Act 1875 Section 80

Offence: It is an offence for a person to throw, cast or fire any firework in or into any highway, street, thoroughfare, or public place.

4) Source: Explosives Act 1875 Section 131

Offence: It is an offence for a person, without lawful authority or excuse, to discharge any firework within 50 feet of the centre of a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway, and in consequence thereof the highway is damaged.

5) Source: Explosives Act 1875 Section 161

Offence: It is an offence for a person, without lawful authority or excuse, to discharge any firework within 50 feet of the centre of a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway, and in consequence thereof a user of the highway is injured, interrupted, or endangered.

6) Source: Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985, Section 2A (1).

Offence: It is an offence for a person, without lawful authority , to have in his possession any firework:

i) at any time during the period of a designated sporting event when he is in any area of a designated sports ground from which the event may be directly viewed, or
ii) while entering or trying to enter a designated sports ground at any time during the period of a designated sporting event at the ground.

G  (Back to index)

Going Equipped

1) Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 25(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person, when not at his place of abode, to have with him any article for use in the course of or in connection with any burglary, theft or cheat.

Powers: Any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, committing an offence under this section. Section 25(4)

H  (Back to index)

Handling Stolen Goods

1) Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 22(1)

Offence: A person handles stolen goods if (otherwise than in the course of stealing) knowing or believing them to be stolen goods he
i) dishonestly receives the goods, or
ii) dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realisation, by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranges to do so.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

2) Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 23

Offence: It is an offence for any person to make a public advertisement of a reward for the return of goods stolen or lost if such advertisement uses any words to the effect:
i) that no questions will be asked, or
ii) that the person producing the goods will be safe from apprehension or injury, or
iii) that any money paid for the purchase of the goods, or advanced by way of loan on them will be repaid.

Powers: Proceed by way of summons only, unless any of the conditions of Section 25 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 are satisfied.

3) Source: Theft Act 1968 Section 24(a)

Offence: A person is guilty of an offence if
i) a wrongful credit has been made to an account kept by him or in respect of which he has any right or interest;
ii) he knows or believes that the credit is wrongful; and
iii) he dishonestly fails to take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to secure that the credit is cancelled.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

I  (Back to index)

Indecency

1) Source: Vagrancy Act 1824 Section 4

Offence: It is an offence for a person to willfully, openly, lewdly, and obscenely expose his person, with intent to insult any female.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

2) Source: Town Police Clauses Act 1847 Section 28

Offence: It is an offence for any person, in any street to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of the residents or passengers:
i) to willfully and indecently expose his person or
ii) to publicly offer for sale or distribution or to exhibit to public view any profane book, paper, print, drawing or representation; or
iii) to sing any profane or obscene song or ballad or use any profane or obscene language.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

J  (Back to index)

No items at present.

 

K  (Back to index)

Knives

Manufacture/sell/hire ‘Flick Knife’ or ‘Flick Gun’.

Source: Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act, 1959. Section 1(1).

Offence: It is an offence for a person to manufacture, sell, hire or offer for sale or hire or expose or have in his possession for the purpose of sale or hire, or lend or give to any person:

A) any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, sometimes know as a ‘flick knife’ or ‘flick gun’; or

B) any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other device, sometimes known as a ‘gravity knife’.

Powers: Proceedings should be by way of a summons only, unless any of the conditions of s.25 of PACE 1984 are satisfied.

Import

Source: Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act, 1959. Section 1(2).

Offence: It is an offence to import any knife as described in s.1(1) and sometimes known as a ‘flick knife’ or ‘flick gun’ and ‘gravity knife’

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Public Place

Source: Criminal Justice Act, 1988. Section 139(1).

Offence: It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

School Premises

Source: Criminal Justice Act, 1988. Section 139A(1).

Offence: It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him on school premises any article to which s.139 applies.

Powers: Arrestable offence.

Sell to under 16

Source: Criminal Justice Act, 1988. Section 141A

Offence: It is an offence for any person to sell to a person under the age of 16 any knife, knife blade, razor blade, axe or any other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed and which is made or adapted for causing injury to the person.

Powers: Proceedings should be by way of a summons only, unless any of the conditions of s.25 of PACE 1984 are satisfied.

L  (Back to index)

Licensed Premises

No Licence

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.160( 1 )

Offence: It is an offence for any person:

(a) to sell or expose for sale by retail, any intoxicating liquor without holding a justices licence, canteen licence or occasional permission authorising the sale of that liquor, or
(b) holding a justices licence, occasional licence, canteen licence or occasional permission to sell or expose for sale by retail any intoxicating liquor except at the place for which that licence or permission authorises the sale of that liquor.

Knowingly Sell/Supply

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.161 ( 1 )

Offence: It is an offence for the holder of a justices licence to knowingly sell, or supply, intoxicating liquor to persons to whom he is not permitted by the conditions of the licence.

Knowingly Permit

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.161(2)

Offence: It is an offence for the holder of a restaurant or residential licence to knowingly permit intoxicating liquor sold in pursuance of the licence to be consumed on the licensed premises by persons for whose consumption there he is not permitted by the conditions of the licence to sell it.

Drink within Off Licence etc

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s. 164(1)

Offence: It is an offence for a person, having purchased intoxicating liquor from the holder of a justices ‘off’ licence, and with the privity or consent of the licence holder, to drink the liquor:

(a) in the licensed premises,
(b) in premises which adjoin or are near the licensed premises and which belong to the holder of the licence or are under his control or used by his permission, or
(c) on a highway adjoining or near those premises.

Open Vessels

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.164( 4 )

Offence: It is an offence for the holder of a justices 'off' licence to supply spirits or wine in open vessels.

Person Under 14

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s .168

Offence: It is an offence for the holder of a justices licence to allow, or cause or procure, or attempt to cause or procure, a person under 14 years of age to be in the bar of licensed premises during the permitted hours.

Person Under 18

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.169( 1 )

Offence: It is an offence for a licensee or his servant, in licensed premises, to sell intoxicating liquor to a person under 18 or knowingly allow a person under 18 to consume intoxicating liquor in a bar or knowingly allow any person to sell intoxicating liquor to a person under 18.

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.169( 2 )

Offence: It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 years, in licensed premises, to buy or attempt to buy intoxicating liquor or consume intoxicating liquor in a bar.

Source: Licensing Act 1964 s.169( 3 )

Offence: It is an offence for any person to buy or attempt to buy, intoxicating liquor for consumption by a person under the age of 18 years, in a bar.

This section details various Acts, and offences and common laws that are commonly used by Police officers.

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