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Policing and Crime Act 2009

Section 17 Orders requiring attendance at meetings and Schedule 1 Schedule to the Street Offences Act 1959

83.Subsections (1) and (2) amend section 1 of the 1959 Act to introduce a new penalty for those convicted of loitering or soliciting for the purpose of prostitution, allowing the court to make a rehabilative order instead of imposing a fine or any other penalty.

84.The order will require the offender to attend a series of three meetings with a named supervisor or another person directed by the supervisor. The purpose of the order is to assist the offender, through attendance at those meetings, to address the causes of their involvement in street prostitution and to find ways of ending that involvement. The offender may be the subject of only one order at any time.

85.Subsection (3) inserts a new section 1A into the 1959 Act, and provides further details about the new order.

86.An order can only be made if a suitable person has agreed to act as ‘supervisor’. A person is only suitable to act as a supervisor if that person appears to the court to have the appropriate qualifications or experience for helping the offender to make the best use of the meetings.

87.The order must specify the local justice area in which the offender resides or will reside while the order is in force. The order must also specify a date by which the three meetings must take place. This must be no later than six months from the date the order is made.

88.Specific details about the time, location and duration of the three meetings will not be included in the order. These will be at the discretion of the supervisor, who is responsible for making arrangements necessary to enable the three meetings to take place and notifying the court that the order has been complied with.

89.Subsection (4) introduces Schedule 1 to the Act which inserts a new Schedule into the 1959 Act. This new Schedule makes further provision about the new order, including the consequences of breach and the mechanism for amending an order.

90.Paragraph 1 of the new Schedule to the 1959 Act defines 'the offender' and ‘the supervisor’ for the purposes of the Schedule and provides that a failure to attend any meeting at the time and place directed by the supervisor constitutes failure by the offender to comply with the order.

91.Paragraph 2 of the new Schedule states what will happen when it appears to the supervisor that the offender has breached the order. Sub-paragraph (1) requires the supervisor to notify a justice of the peace if the supervisor is of the opinion that the offender has failed to comply with the order without reasonable excuse. If it appears to the justice of the peace that the offender has failed to comply with the order, he may issue a summons, under sub-paragraph (2), requiring the offender to appear at a specified time at the appropriate court.

92.Paragraph 3 of the new Schedule deals with instances where the offender fails to appear in answer to a court summons issued under paragraph 2. In such cases, the magistrates’ court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the offender, requiring the offender to be brought before the appropriate court.

93.Paragraph 4 of the new Schedule sets out the powers of a magistrates' court when an offender appears or is brought before it following a summons or warrant issued under paragraph 2 or 3, and it is proved to the court's satisfaction that the offender has failed to comply with the order without a reasonable excuse. In such cases, the court must revoke the order, if it is still in force, and may deal with the offender for the original offence, taking into account the extent to which the offender complied with the order. The court has the power to impose any penalty that would have been available to it if the offender had just been convicted by the court of the original offence. This includes making another order under new section 1(2A) of the 1959 Act. Breach of an order is not in itself a criminal offence.

94.Under paragraph 4(4) a person sentenced under paragraph 4 may appeal against the sentence to the Crown Court.

95.The procedure to be followed to change the supervisor specified in the order is set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the new Schedule. It is only possible for the supervisor to be changed if the current supervisor is unable to continue acting in that capacity.

96.The current supervisor, the offender, or a police officer may apply to the appropriate court to specify a different supervisor in the order. If the court is satisfied that the supervisor is unable to continue in his or her role, it must either amend the order to include a different supervisor, or, if no other supervisor is available, revoke the order. Any new supervisor must be a suitable person as defined in the new section 1A of the 1959 Act.

97.Paragraph 6 of the new Schedule provides that if the court revokes the order (because no other supervisor is available) it can deal with the offender for the original offence, imposing any penalty which would have been available to it if the offender had just been convicted by the court of that offence. It cannot, however, impose another order under new section 1(2A) of the 1959 Act and it must take into account the extent to which the offender complied with the original order.

98.Paragraph 7 of the new Schedule deals with a change of local justice area specified in the order. Both the offender and the supervisor are able to apply for the specified local justice area to be changed to the area in which the offender resides or will reside. The court must make the change following an application from the supervisor and may do so following an application from the offender.

99.Paragraph 8 of the new Schedule provides that if a court proposes to change the supervisor (or revoke the order) following an application under paragraph 5 made by a person other than the offender, it must summon the offender to appear. If the offender fails to attend in answer to the summons, the court may issue a warrant for the offender’s arrest.

100.Paragraph 9 of the new Schedule provides for the detention of an offender when arrested under a warrant issued under the Schedule (for example, following a breach of an order and subsequent failure to answer a summons) if the offender cannot be brought immediately before the court named in the warrant.

101.In such cases, the offender must be brought before any youth court (if the offender is under 18) or any magistrates’ court (if the offender is 18 or over) as soon as practicable following arrest and in any event before the end of the period of 72 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

102.If under 18, the offender must be detained in a place of safety within the meaning of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. Section 107 of that Act defines “place of safety” as: a community home provided by a local authority or a controlled community home, any police station, or any hospital, surgery, or any other suitable place, the occupier of which is willing temporarily to receive a child or young person.

103.Paragraph 10 of the new Schedule specifies the procedure to be followed if the offender is brought before a court other than that named in the warrant. The alternative court is able either to order the release of the offender or to remand him to appear at a later date before the appropriate court so named. Section 128 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1980 will apply with minor amendments. This section deals with the powers of magistrates’ courts to remand in custody or on bail.

104.An offender committed to custody under paragraph 10 will be committed to prison, unless he or she is aged under 18 at the time of committal, in which case he or she will be committed to accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority.

105.Paragraph 11 of the new Schedule states the procedure for adjourning a hearing relating to an offender held by either a youth court or other magistrates' court under the Schedule.

106.Paragraph 12 of the new Schedule deals with the process of notifying the offender, the supervisor and the relevant court(s), following any change to the terms of the order.

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