Published: 13 September 2012
Q. I had a visit from the Police Licensing Officer recently and following the usual request to see my Premises Licence they advised me that the local nighttime policing unit would be very active in issuing Section 27 Notices. What is a Section 27 Notice?
A. One of the pieces of legislation that hit the statue books in 2006 was the Violent Crime Reduction Act. This in response to the desperate situation that had developed on our High Streets in respect of alcohol fuelled crime and disorder. Some sections of the Act have lasted longer than others, for example, you may remember the ADZ (Alcohol Disorder Zone). This piece of legislation was repealed in 2012 by the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act. However, Section 27s formed part of the Violent Crime Reduction Act and are specific to alcohol related disorder in public places.
Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 provides that a Constable in uniform can issue a direction to leave a locality to an individual aged at least 10 who is in a public place and who presents a risk of alcohol related crime and disorder. The effect of the order prohibits their return to the locality for up to 48 hours and failure to comply is an offence. Section 27s have found favour in 2012, particularly because of a need to rid an area of people in order to ensure that crime and/or disorder does not result.
The Police Constable must therefore make a decision whether a Section 27 Notice is appropriate in the circumstances, (will the recipient understand that he must leave the area and not return within a specific period of time?). For those unfortunates who are incoherent as a result of alcohol intake, a Section 27 is definitely contraindicated. However, for those who are on the cusp of drunkenness and are exhibiting loud uncouth and aggressive behaviour, and who can understand an order to remove themselves from a particular location and not to return within a certain period of time, the order is extremely useful.
The order must be given in writing and it may require the individual to whom it is given to leave the locality in question either immediately or by such time as the Constable giving the direction may specify; it must clearly identify the locality to which it relates; must specify the period for which the individual is prohibited from returning to the locality and may even indicate for the benefit of the individual, the route that the Constable is requiring the individual to use to vacate himself from the locality.
In practice, the Section 27 identifies that the individual or individuals must leave the area immediately and not come back within a period, for example of 12 hours. This has the effect of ensuring that those coherent enough to obey the order depart from the area leaving the more inebriated to be scoped up by the Police and transported to the cells in order to allow them time to sober up before being charged with public order offences.
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