Changes to legislation for policing protests

Published on 29 June 2022
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 will result in changes to protests and events
2 mins read

The new legislation came into force on 28 June as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. We are supporting forces, public order commanders, and operational officers so that they are aware of and understand changes.

Public order public safety (POPS) officers should understand all the new powers and offences when responding to protests, planned and unplanned events. 

Changes from the new legislation

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 sets out a range of changes that aim to 'uphold the right to peaceful protest while providing the police with the necessary powers to stop disruptive protests from disproportionately infringing on the rights and freedoms of others'.

These include: 

  • increasing the maximum prison sentence for criminal damage to memorials up to £5,000

  • increasing sentences for protests that cause serious disruption to communities, individuals and organisations in the surrounding area, including those that bring roads and public transport networks to a standstill, and those which exceed certain noise levels

  • introducing a statutory offence of public nuisance in place of the existing common law offence, which sets out to the police and protestors what conduct results in the law being broken

  • protecting the police and other emergency workers by increasing sentences for anyone who assaults or harms an emergency worker while they are performing their role

The legislation comes into effect during World Wellbeing Week and includes measures that aim to protect police and other emergency service workers.

Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service, provides a range of free services, resources and events designed to meet the unique needs of police forces, officers and staff, including the emergency services trauma intervention programme (ESTIP) and the peer-led post-incident support programme. 

If you have further questions, please email the public order public safety team.

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