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Serious Crime Act 2015

This page contains an overview of the Serious Crime Act and supporting documents.

The Serious Crime Act received Royal Assent on 3 March 2015.

The act gives effect to a number of proposals set out in the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy. It builds on the current criminal and civil law to ensure that the National Crime Agency, the police and other law enforcement agencies can continue effectively and relentlessly to pursue, disrupt and bring to justice serious and organised criminals.

The act also introduces measures to enhance the protection of vulnerable children and others, including by strengthening the law to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM) and domestic abuse. The act also includes provisions to tighten prison security and to guard against the threat of terrorism.

The act:

  • improves our ability to recover criminal assets by amending the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • amends the Computer Misuse Act 1990 to ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause
  • creates a new offence targeting people who knowingly participate in an organised crime group
  • extends the scope of serious crime prevention orders and gang injunctions
  • creates new powers to seize, detain and destroy chemical substances suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs
  • clarifies the offence of child cruelty in section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, making it explicit that the offence covers cruelty which causes psychological suffering or injury as well as physical harm
  • replaces anachronisticreferences to child prostitution and child pornography in the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • restricts the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution to adults
  • introduces a new offence of sexual communication with a child
  • creates a new offence making it illegal to possess paedophile manuals
  • criminalises patterns of repeated or continuous coercive or controlling behaviour against an intimate partner or family member
  • strengthens prison security by creating new offences of unauthorised possession of a knife or other offensive weapon in prison and throwing articles into a prison
  • gives courts the power to make mobile network operators disconnect mobile communication devices being used in prison without authorisation
  • allows people suspected of committing an offence overseas under sections 5 (preparation of terrorism acts) or 6 (training for terrorism) of the Terrorism Act 2006 to be prosecuted in the UK

How the act will help stop FGM

To help stop FGM and protect victims, the act:

  • extends the extra-territorial reach of the offences in the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 so that they apply to habitual as well as permanent UK residents
  • introduces a new offence of failing to protect a girl from risk of FGM
  • grants lifelong anonymity to victims
  • brings in a civil order (FGM protection orders) to protect potential victims
  • introduces a duty on healthcare professionals, teachers and social care workers, to notify the police of known cases of FGM carried out on a girl under 18

Where can I find more information?

The Serious Crime Act and the accompanying explanatory notes are available on the Parliament website.

You can also read the Telecommunications Restriction Orders Regulations and impact assessment.

Related documents can be found below.

Announcements

Circulars

Consultations

  1. Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect

Guidance

Published 6 June 2014
Last updated 4 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. The act has received Royal Assent.
  2. First published.