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Arrests, police station interviews and court hearings continue over the festive period. In fact, it can be a particularly busy time for the criminal justice system, with some crimes known to peak over the holiday season.
Need a solicitor over Christmas?
If you need legal representation during the Christmas break, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We are an experienced team of criminal defence solicitors with offices in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Dewsbury. We offer free police station representation and have a 24/7 helpline.
What crimes increase over the holiday season?
According to many experts, the summer months are actually the worst time of year for crime. Even so, certain offences are commonly associated with the festive season, prompting one senior Crown Prosecution solicitor to dub them ‘the 12 crimes of Christmas’. They are:
1. Drink driving
Police forces typically ramp up drink driving campaigns during December and early January. Motorists are often caught in the evenings and early mornings when the effects of alcohol are yet to wear off.
Homes are often left unoccupied during the festive season as friends and family travel to see one another. Valuable gifts may also be left under the Christmas tree or around the house. This can lead to spates of burglaries across neighbourhoods, even in occupied homes.
Some reports suggest that the cost-of-living crisis will force more and more people into desperate measures this Christmas – meaning a further increase in the amount of shoplifting that takes place.
4. Street robbery
More revellers take to the streets over the festive period, which in turn leads to a rise in street robbery. Street robbery is committed in public places, including taxis, public transport, parks and streets. It often involves the use of force or threats to steal from a person.
5. Drink fuelled assaults
The festive season is associated with a rise in alcohol consumption, which can in turn result in more drink fuelled assaults. Assault includes offences such as actual bodily harm (ABH), grievous bodily harm (GBH) and common assault.
6. Alcohol fuelled public disorder
The above offence is closely related to alcohol fuelled public disorder. Public disorder is conduct in a public place that is likely to cause, or intends to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to anyone present. It might include intimidating someone, inciting racial hatred, or drunk and disorderly behaviour. One expert suggests alcohol fuelled public disorders increases over the festive period due to more groups congregating in the streets.
7. Harassment and stalking
Christmas is seen as a time to rekindle old relationships. However, where this attention is excessive and/or unwanted, it can amount to harassment or stalking. This may prompt anti-harassment measures.
Fraud can take many forms, and both offline and online tend to fraud increase over the holiday season. Fraud is investigated by various agencies in the UK, including the police, the Serious Fraud Office and the National Crime Agency.
9. Domestic violence
People often spend more time together at home over the holiday season, which in turn leads to a spike in domestic violence incidents. This may be further fuelled by an increase in alcohol consumption.
10. Sexual offences
Sexual offences such as sexual assault and rape are closely linked to domestic violence. However, such offences also take place outside a domestic setting, particularly during the holiday season when alcohol is at play. There have been cases in which offenders have deliberately targeted women who were vulnerable following the consumption of alcohol.
11. Child abuse
Child abuse is also closely linked to domestic violence in the sense that children spend more time at home with a potentially abusive individual. Child abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.
12. Making off without paying for services
‘Making off without paying for services’ means doing things like leaving a restaurant or bar without settling the bill. This becomes increasingly common over the festive period.
Do the courts open over Christmas?
Courts in England and Wales only stop for a very brief period over the Christmas period. In 2022, the closure dates are:
- Monday 26 December 2022 – with some exceptions
- Tuesday 27 December 2022 – with some exceptions
- Wednesday 28 December 2022 – County and Family Courts, Crown Courts, High Court and Court of Appeal closed
- Monday 2 January 2023 – with some exceptions
Some Magistrates’ Courts will be open for remand hearings on 26 and 27 December, and 2 January 2023. Magistrates’ Court will be open on 28 December. Therefore, if you are arrested and kept in custody, your remand hearing should not be too delayed. Hearings may take place in person or via video or telephone link.
solicitors – available 24/7
Crime does not stop over the holiday season, and nor do we. If you are accused of either a criminal offence or a motoring offence, we can help you. We have dedicated teams of criminal defence lawyers, fraud and financial crime lawyers, and motor defence lawyers. You can reach us day or night, 24/7. We deal with many of the crimes listed above and more.
Remember, you are entitled to free police station representation. This is a legal right and it is one we strongly recommend that you exercise. Everyone is entitled to free legal advice from either the duty solicitor at the police station or a solicitor of their choosing. A solicitor can guide you through police questioning, explain the next steps and outline your legal rights.