The Public Order Act of 1986 has been widely criticised for its potential to infringe on civil liberties and free speech. In certain circumstances, it allows police officers to take action or issue a warning for offensive behaviour even if the behaviour was not accompanied by actual violence. Critics of the Act argue that it gives police too much discretionary power to decide what counts as offensive and In some cases, police have abused the Act to suppress political demonstrations. Furthermore, the Act has been accused of disproportionately affecting citizens of minority group, as police officers are more likely to take action against people that they consider to be threatening to public order or a potential nuisance. In 2020, the Institute of Race Relations conducted a study that found that 41% of individuals stopped and searched were black, despite only making up 3.4% of total population in England and Wales. This figure further illustrates how the banning of certain behaviours can be potentially discriminatory towards a certain group of people.