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Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) arrests, (b) prosecutions and (c) convictions there were for offences under (i) the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and (ii) the Malicious Communications Act 1988 in each of the last 10 years. (195647)

The arrests collection undertaken by the Ministry of Justice provides data on persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, by age group, gender, ethnicity, and main offence group, i.e. violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary, etc. It is not possible to separately identify specific offences from within the main offence groups.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Malicious Communications Act 1988 can in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 2006 be viewed in the following table.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Malicious Communications Act 1988 in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 20061,2,3,4

Statute

Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Malicious Communications Act 1988 S.1(l)(a),1(1)(b)

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Proceeded against

Found guilty

1997

780

344

0

0

1998

6,189

3,031

0

0

1999

7,758

3,671

0

0

20005

8,162

3,940

0

0

2001

7,936

3,792

0

0

2002

7,955

3,976

66

38

2003

8,084

4,234

78

47

2004

8,148

4,675

99

64

2005

8,108

5,185

122

73

2006

7,805

5,333

182

121

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 The data relates to the following Statutes and offence descriptions:

Malicious Communications Act S.l(l)(a), and 1(1 )(b):

Sending letter or other article conveying indecent or grossly offensive message

Sending letter or other article conveying threat

Sending letter or other article conveying false information

Sending article which is in whole or in part indecent or grossly offensive

Protection from Harassment Act 1997 S.2(l) and (2), 3(6), 4(1), and 5(5):

Infringing the terms of an injunction which restrains the offender from harassment

Putting a person in fear of violence

Breach of a restraining order under the Act

Harassment of another

3 The data excludes racially and or religiously aggravated harassment offences as covered by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

4 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

5 Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000.

Note:

Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.

Source:

Court proceedings data held by RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice

Court proceedings data for 2007 will be available in the autumn of 2008.