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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 42: Police Directions stopping the harassment etc of a person in his home

128.This section provides a new power for a police officer to direct persons to leave the vicinity of premises used as a dwelling, or to follow such other directions as the officer may give, in order to prevent harassment, alarm or distress to persons in the dwelling. This applies where persons are present in the vicinity of premises used as a dwelling, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person or persons are there for the purpose of persuading or making representations to any individual that they should do something which they are entitled not to do (or not do something they are entitled to do), and that the presence or behaviour of those persons is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to persons living at the premises.

129.A police officer may give such directions as he considers necessary to prevent harassment, alarm or distress to persons in the dwelling, including directing persons to leave the vicinity of the dwelling, and may attach conditions to the location, distance and number of persons who may remain, such as are considered necessary for preventing harassment, alarm or distress to persons in the dwelling. This means that a peaceful protest could still take place away from the vicinity of the homes.

130.An offence is created of knowingly failing to comply with such directions or conditions as are given by the police officer. The penalty for this offence is, on summary conviction, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

131.An exception is provided for conduct which is lawful under section 220 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, that is peaceful picketing of a place of work in furtherance of a trade dispute.

132.The term "dwelling" has the same meaning as in the Public Order Act 1986, that is any structure or part of a structure occupied as a person's home or other living accommodation (whether the occupation is separate or shared with others) but does not include any part not so occupied.

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