Serious Crime Act 2015

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Serious Crime Act 2015
Long titleAn Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Computer Misuse Act 1990, Part 4 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009, section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the Street Offences Act 1959, the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005, the Prison Act 1952 and the Terrorism Act 2006; to make provision about involvement in organised crime groups and about serious crime prevention orders; to make provision for the seizure and forfeiture of drug-cutting agents; to make it an offence to possess an item that contains advice or guidance about committing sexual offences against children; to create an offence in relation to controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or family relationships; to make provision for the prevention or restriction of the use of communication devices by persons detained in custodial institutions; to make provision approving for the purposes of section 8 of the European Union Act 2011 certain draft decisions under Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union relating to serious crime; to make provision about codes of practice that relate to the exercise and performance, in connection with the prevention or detection of serious crime, of powers and duties in relation to communications; and for connected purposes.
Citation2015 c.9
Introduced byLord Taylor of Holbeach
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent3 March 2015
Other legislation
AmendsProceeds of Crime Act 2002, Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, Computer Misuse Act 1990, Serious Crime Act 2007, Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, Policing and Crime Act 2009, Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Sexual Offences Act 2003, Street Offences Act 1959, Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005, Prison Act 1952, Terrorism Act 2006
Amended byInvestigatory Powers Act 2016, Digital Economy Act 2017, Criminal Finances Act 2017, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Serious Crime Act 2015 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[1] Introduced in June 2014 as part of the Queen's Speech opening the 2014-15 session of Parliament, the Bill was sponsored by the Home Office. It was passed by Parliament on 2 March 2015, and received royal assent on 3 March 2015.[2]

The Bill proceeding the Act proposed a 'Cinderella Law' to outlaw causing emotional distress of children,[3] regulate corrupt accountants and other businesses who assist criminal gangs,[4] regulate 'drug cutting agents',[5] and deal with offences related to female genital mutilation, paedophilia, and amend the Terrorism Act 2006.

Part 1: Proceeds of Crime[edit]

This part amends the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in determining the extent of a defendant's interest in confiscated property, and amends the procedures surrounding costs and court sentencing. This includes amending, defining, or creating regulations on the extent of a defendant's interest in proceeds of crime, the provision of information by third parties, the time-frame and manner of payment, absconding defendants, and connected purposes.[6]

Part 2: Computer Misuse[edit]

This part amends the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in relation to hacking, creating viruses or Trojan Horses, the deliberate act of creating serious risk to computers or computer systems and amends the territorial extent of computer crimes. This includes a new offence of impairing a computer to cause damage, with a 14 years' prison sentence for damage to the economy or environment, in addition to ensuring the United Kingdom adopts the EU Directive 2013/40/EU on attacks against information systems.[6]

Part 3: Organised, Serious and Gang-related Crime[edit]

This part adopts the ratified UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. The new 'participation offence' would encompass not just those who carry out an act of serious crime, but those who provide materials, services or related infrastructure. The Bill would extend elements of the Serious Crime Act 2007 to Scotland, and extends the making of a Serious Crime Prevention Order to include firearms offences and the cultivation of cannabis plants.[6]

Part 4: Seizure and Forfeiture of Drug-cutting Agents[edit]

This part creates and extends the power of search and seizure warrants related to the investigation into the creation or ownership of substances used when 'cutting' drugs.[6]

Part 5: Protection of Children, etc.[edit]

This part extends the definition of child cruelty to incorporate abuse, neglect or psychological damage, and amends existing legislation relating to paedophile material to include publications that advise on how to commit or facilitate sexual offences against children. It also prohibits intentional communication of a sexual nature with a minor (including encouraging the minor to communicate anything of a sexual nature) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification. Existing legislation on female genital mutilation is also amended by this part. This Part amends the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, making it explicit that suffering of a child can be physical or psychological, and amends the offence of suffocating a child under three.[6]. Finally, this part creates the offence of "controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship"[6].

Part 6: Miscellaneous and General[edit]

This part deals with the preparation or training abroad for terrorist related activities, amendments related to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in relation to serious crime, and consequential amendments. The unauthorised possession of a bladed instrument within a prison is made an explicit offence by this Part, amending the Prison Act 1952 to include prisons, secure training centres and young offender institutions.[6]


  1. ^ Serious Crime Bill Home Office
  2. ^ "Bill stages — Serious Crime Act 2015". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  3. ^ Serious crime bill, if enacted, will help to stop emotional abuse of children The Guardian
  4. ^ Corrupt accountants targeted by new serious crime bill AccountancyAge
  5. ^ Impact Assessment - Serious Crime Bill Home Office
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Serious Crime Bill" (PDF). Retrieved 8-12-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]