‘Creepy Clowns’ Police Warnings as Craze Spreads to North Devon

As you are probably aware, there is a developing trend of people dressing up as clowns and attempting to scare members of the public. The phenomenon started in the USA over the summer, but it has now spread across the world.

Unfortunately this issue has reached North Devon and there have been a number of recorded incidents.

Please be aware that by participating in such activities you could well be committing a criminal offence, specifically under the Public Order Act 1986.

Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 creates the offence of causing fear or provocation of violence, often known as ‘threatening behaviour’.

4(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he –

(a) uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or (b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 creates the offence of causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

4A(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he – (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.
There are further offences that may be considered by Police, including Common Assault.

What may seem like a bit of harmless fun could well result in you getting in to serious trouble, particularly if you are holding a weapon at the time, fake or otherwise.

Devon and Cornwall Police will not tolerate such behaviour and will deal robustly with perpetrators.

Additionally, Devon and Cornwall Police do not condone ‘Clown Hunting’ and will deal with any reported assaults appropriately. If you experience an incident, please contact the Police on 101 or 999 for something that is ongoing.

Chris Mannell PC 10577 Ilfracombe & Braunton Neighbourhood Team