Record number of prosecutions for Community Protection Notices in 2022

Community Protection Notices (CPNs) are on-the-spot legal orders that can be issued on the basis of a police or council officer’s opinion that somebody’s conduct has a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life’. There is no requirement for the officer to gather evidence, or even to speak to the CPN recipient, before issuing the notice.

People have received CPNs banning them from wearing a bikini in their garden, looking at their neighbours, entering the town centre, feeding birds in their garden, or using leather footballs in a school playground.

If a person fails to appeal a CPN within a 21-day window (and appeals are difficult, rare and expensive) then the notice stands as a binding legal order, whether it is well-founded or not. If the CPN recipient subsequently carries out the prohibited behaviour, this is a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted.

Data supplied by the Ministry of Justice shows that prosecutions for the offence of violating a CPN have risen consistently since 2015, reaching a record high in 2022 (the most recent available statistics).

  176   595   692   1,087   1,459   1,278   1,576   1,775 
Table 1: Number of prosecutions for failure to comply with a Community Protection Notice

This is a high rate of prosecutions, given that 6,161 council CPNs were issued in the year up to October 2022. (The number of CPNs issued by police forces is currently unknown.)

If a person is found guilty of failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice, the police or council authority can apply for a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), which imposes similar or related restrictions on their conduct. If a person breaches this CBO they can now be imprisoned for up to five years. In 2022, 34 people received a Criminal Behaviour Order for failure to comply with a CPN.

Table 2: Number of Criminal Behaviour Orders issued for failure to comply with a Community Protection Notice

As a result of this chain of intervention, a person could be imprisoned for five years for the offence of entering their town centre, if this action was banned by a Community Protection Notice and subsequent Criminal Behaviour Order. The pursuit of CPNs through the court system means that these slapdash legal orders become the basis of criminal records and even incarceration.

This is a time when the government should be increasing checks and balances, to ensure that these powers are used fairly and effectively. Instead, the government is doing the opposite: the Criminal Justice Bill currently going through parliament will allow Community Protection Notices to be issued to children as young as 10.

The Manifesto Club will oppose the Criminal Justice Bill, and call for basic restrictions to be introduced into this cowboy area of criminal law.

Read on:

  • Campaign Against Community Protection Notices
  • Campaign to Stop the Criminal Justice Bill