§ The Attorney-General
The Director of Public Prosecutions has agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers guidance to assist police and prosecutors select the right charge for people alleged to have230W committed public order offences. The charging standard will be implemented with effect from Monday 3 June 1996.
The main offences covered by the standard are those contained in part I and part III of the Public Order Act 1986. Those provisions penalise individuals or groups who use violence and/or intimidating behaviour. Special guidance is given in dealing with racially motivated conduct. Violent and/or intimidating behaviour which is directed at particular individuals or groups of individuals as the result of racial motive is liable to be dealt with under part I of the Act or other provisions of the general law with the motive being drawn to the attention of the court as an aggravating feature. On the other hand, conduct intended or likely to incite racial hatred is liable to be dealt with under part III of the Act.
The previous charging standard relating to offences against the person has been revised and will also be implemented with effect from Monday 3 June 1996. The revised standard contains guidance on the handling of cases of assault where the allegation is made by a person who was, at the material time, himself engaged in criminal activity, such as a burglar alleged to have been assaulted by the occupier of the premises concerned. Police and prosecutors must examine such cases by reference to all the surrounding circumstances including the suspect's state of mind and the common law and statutory provisions which permit the use of reasonable force in self-defence, the defence of another, the defence of property, the prevention of crime and the effecting of a lawful arrest. The difficulties facing someone confronted by an intruder or defending himself against attack must always be taken carefully into account but excessive force may not be used.
Copies of the charging standard relating to public order offences and the revised charging standard relating to offences against the person have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.