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Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Section 178: Protection arrangements for persons at risk

517.Chapter 4 of Part 1 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (“SOCPA”) makes provision for the protection of persons involved in investigations and legal proceedings. Section 82 enables a “protection provider” (usually in practice the police) to make appropriate protection arrangements for a person whose safety is at risk by virtue of being a person specified in Schedule 5 to SOCPA. Those specified in Schedule 5 include witnesses, jurors and other people who are or have been involved in legal proceedings, law enforcement officers and other persons involved in the administration of justice, and the family of such persons or others with a close personal relationship with them.

518.Section 178 amends section 82 of SOCPA so as to enable a protection provider to make protection arrangements for anyone whose safety may be at risk by virtue of another person's possible or actual criminal conduct. The making of such arrangements will not be dependent on being a person specified in Schedule 5. In particular, this would enable arrangements to be made to prevent a person from becoming a victim of a crime where the nature of the threat is such that they do not come within any of the categories in Schedule 5 (for example, an actual or potential witness in legal proceedings) but protection arrangements are nonetheless considered to be necessary.

519.Subsection (2)(b) amends section 82(1) of SOCPA so as to allow protection arrangements to be made in respect of any person the protection provider reasonably believes is at risk from the criminal conduct, or possible criminal conduct, of another person. Criminal conduct is defined in new section 82(5A) (inserted by subsection (2)(c)) as conduct which would constitute an offence in England and Wales or Scotland (regardless of whether it was committed there).

520.New section 82(5B) (also inserted by subsection(2)(c)) makes clear that there is nothing to prevent arrangements being made under this provision in respect of a person who has formerly been subject to non-statutory protection arrangements. Subsection (7) provides that the provisions in this section will not affect protection arrangements made under section 82 of SOCPA before the coming into force of the section.

521.Subsections (2)(b) and (3) to (6) make consequential repeals to Chapter 4 of Part 1 of SOCPA, in particular they repeal Schedule 5 to SOCPA (made redundant by the wider power to make protection arrangements) and the redundant transitional provisions in sections 91 and 92 of SOCPA.

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