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Royal Assent for Offensive Behaviour Bill

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act has received Royal Assent, the Minister for Community Safety has announced.

The Act will give Scotland’s police and prosecutors the additional tools they have asked for to extract poisonous songs of hatred from Scottish football and threats of harm being posted on the internet.

The new laws create two new distinct offences, punishable through a range of penalties up to a maximum five-year prison sentence:

-The first offence targets any offensive and threatening behaviour expressed at and around football matches which is likely to cause public disorder.
-The second offence relates to the communication of threats of serious harm or which are intended to stir up religious hatred on the internet or other communications.

The Scottish Government will now lay a commencement order to bring the new laws into force on 1st March 2012.