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Police can give a direction to a person in a public place who is an intoxicated person.

This means a person whose speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is noticeably affected, and it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that this is due to alcohol or any drug.

A direction may be given if the police officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person’s behaviour in the place as a result of the intoxication:

(a) is likely to cause injury to anyone else or damage to property, or otherwise
causes a risk to public safety; or

(b) is disorderly (there is no definition of “disorderly”).

Until an amendment which took effect on 7 June 2011, police could only give directions to people who were part of a group of 3 or more intoxicated persons. Directions may now be given to single intoxicated persons.

The police may tell you to leave the public place and not return for up to 6 hours (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act s198(1) and (3)).

The direction must be reasonable in the circumstances for the purpose of preventing the injury or damage, reducing or eliminating the risk to public safety, or preventing the continuation of disorderly behaviour in a public place (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act s198(2)).

What sort of direction the police may give

Just like a direction under s197, a direction under s198 may not be given in relation to an industrial dispute, protest, etc (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act s200).

The police must give you the same information and warnings as for a general move-on direction under section 197 (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act s201).

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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