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Hunting: Demonstrations

Question for Home Office

UIN 226756, tabled on 9 March 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps police forces are taking to prosecute anti-hunt protestors who wear masks and balaclavas to hide their identities.

Answered on

11 March 2015

Face coverings can be worn in public places for a variety of legitimate
reasons. In the context of a public order situation, where face coverings are
being worn with the express intention of concealing identity, section 60AA of
the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 enables a police officer in
uniform to require any person to remove any item which the officer reasonably
believes is being worn wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing their
identity. Section 60AA also enables a police officer in uniform to seize any
item which they reasonably believe any person intends to use to conceal their
identity.

A refusal to comply with a direction under this section of the Act is
punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and/or one month’s imprisonment.

These powers only apply in the locality and for the period for which an
authorisation under section 60 or section 60AA of the Act has been given by a
police officer of the rank of inspector or above. An inspector’s authorisation
lasts for a maximum period of 24 hours, unless a police officer of the rank of
superintendent or above authorises their use for a further 24 hours.

Where applicable those in the office of constable must observe the requirements
of the Codes of Practice under The Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984
governing the removal of headgear a copy of which is available in the House of
Commons Library.

Answered by

Home Office