9. Violent Disorder and Affray

Violent Disorder and Affray are serious ‘behavioural offences’ of the Public Order Act (POA).

Violent Disorder (section 2 POA) is committed where 3 or more persons together, use or threaten unlawful violence that taken together could “cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their safety”. The person does not have to be present,

The 3 people involved do not need to co-operate with each other they just need to be present in the same area at the time the offence is committed.

The maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Affray (section 3 POA) is the equivalent (of Violent Disorder) when one person is acting alone. The conduct must be in excess of mere words. An assault on a single person would be unlikely to fall under this statute.

The maximum penalty is 3 years in prison and/or a fine.

Key Messages

  • No Comment
  • You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

  • No Personal Details
  • You don't have to give details under ANY stop and search power.

  • No Duty Solicitor
  • Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience.

  • No Caution
  • They admit guilt for an alleged offence that might never get to court.

  • What Power?
  • Ask "What power?" to challenge a police officer to act lawfully.