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What is a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) and how can I challenge it? Task

A judge or magistrates could impose orders on offenders as well as a sentence. These orders are known as ancillary orders and an SCPO is an example. SCPO stands for Serious Crime Prevention Order and it is a civil order to prevent a serious crime. Offenders who have lifelong criminal histories may face restrictions to limit their ability to plan, fund and commit serious crimes in the future. 

There are many different types of ancillary orders. Other examples include travel restriction orders, confiscation orders, disqualification from driving and football banning orders.

The restrictions an offender may face with an SCPO can vary and they are dependent on the case. The SCPO may include restrictions on:

  • Communication devices (e.g. mobile phones)
  • The use of specific types of business bank accounts
  • Associations with criminal associates
  • Being in certain locations

If an offender breaks the restrictions of an SCPO they could face up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

SCPOs cannot include the offender having to:

  • Answer questions or provide information
  • Answer questions or provide information/documents which are under legal privilege
  • Produce ‘excluded material’ as defined by section 11 of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984
  • Share confidential information or documents as a part of a banking business unless consent is provided by the person to whom the confidence is owed, or the order specifically requires information/documents of this kind
  • Answer questions or provide information/documents if it would involve a disclosure banned by another legislation   

The maximum period for an SCPO is five years but subsequent orders can be made before a current SCPO ends to provide continuity. It is common for the court to delay the start of the order until the offender is released from prison. The SCPO must state when it begins and ends. However, different restrictions in the SCPO may start at different times. If the court decides to delay any of the restrictions, the five years is calculated from when the first restriction comes into force.

An appeal against an SCPO can be made to the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal. The appeal must be made within 28 days from the date of the making of the order. 

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