The public order act 1986 is a replacement of the outdated public order act 1936. It is an act of parliament which was passed in the United Kingdom during that time. This act defines offenses which are related to public order and safety for the police officers and other members of the law enforcement community to be able to take steps to address violence and protect public order. This act describes offenses such as riot, violent disorder, affray, provocation of violence and harassment all of which could cause another person harm and distress. The public order 1986 is an act to eliminate common law offences of unlawful gathering and commotion relating to public order. Its goal is to create new offences to control public processions and to control the stirring up of racial hatred in the community.
In the 1980’s, racial problems were growing in Britain and this act has a section which specialized in identifying criminal offenses in the context of racial hatred. All sections of this act have different levels of penalties or punishments depending on the number of involvement, the circumstances of the event or the kind of violence committed. The public order act 1986 does not only involve any physical violence but also includes the use of words; image, even written violence and other tactics which if committed can be punishable by law.
In 1994 another act was introduced to expand some of the definitions and change some of the language in the public order act 1986.