Brit law q: What's "racially abusing" ?

The BBC News Web site had a story today that said:

What are the elements of the crime? Are they just verbal, or was there some physical component? Is there a charge of plain 'ol abuse (i.e., non race-related harassment)? Is this law something that’s always been around, or is it somewhat new? If new, was it controversial?

I think what caught my attention was that he was released on bail and the police are “investigating.” So, not only is it a serious enough charge such that someone could be held over, it’s serious enough to instigate a police investigation. Granted, the police investigation could be limited to one phone call to one witness, but bail? Seems like it’s more than a tickitable offense.
Oh, for the record: You are not my lawyer/solicitor/barrister/periodontist/llama. I am not your client. I am not seeking legal advice. I have no plans or interest in abusing anyone, racially or otherwise. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Savage Garden fan. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.



I’m not certain, but I believe racial abuse would violate the Protection from Harrassment Act as amended by the Crime and Disorder Act. The person might also be liable civily under the Race Relations Act of 1976.

To add to** Captain’s Amazing**'s post, here are more details of this law shown on the Commission For Racial Equality’s web site

Legislation against (verbal) abuse came into being via the Public Order Act 1986 (amended 1994). There seems to be a difference in the arrest procedure depending on whether the abuse was intentional or not.

I can’t recall any great controversy apart from the predictable resurrection of old Monty Python sketches.

I’m not anyone’s lawyer but this is one of the big differences I see between the British and US systems. Police don’t ticket you here (apart from for driving offences) so any offence potentially leads to arrest. Then you can either be released without charge, cautioned (by the police) or released on police bail. Otherwise you’ll be taken to a Magistrate and a whole raft of possibilities open up depending on the nature of the crime, etc.

IOW, being released on bail isn’t perhaps as significant as it is in the States, inasmuch as it’s really to allow you to go about your business rather than remain in custody albeit with the presumption that if you go AWOL you have then committed a further offence.

Aren’t driving offences still technically the police issuing you with a ‘notice of intended prosecution’?