I have read into section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which can demand suspects surrender passwords for encrypted devices, and section 53 makes it an offence not to do so when compelled.

I am confused as to why I was unable to find the sentencing guidelines for the above RIPA offences, to better understand how a judge would make a decision as to the sentence, and type of sentence (suspended, community order, immediate custodial etc...).

Why do some offences not appear on the sentencing guidelines website?

1 Answer 1


The statutory requirement for sentencing guidelines are at section 120 Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which includes:

(2) A sentencing guideline may be general in nature or limited to a particular offence, particular category of offence or particular category of offender.

Therefore, not every offence etc requires - or has - its own specific sentencing guideline. (Presumably as there are far too many offences to easily cover, so limited resources might need to be focused on the more common ones.)

Note that at the foot of the Sentencing Council's explantory materials is this link:

Where there is no guideline for an offence, refer to the General guideline.

Which states it is for:

sentencing offences for which there is no offence specific sentencing guideline...

So this General guideline is the one to be applied when dealing with a s.53 RIPA offence. (I've not reproduced it here to save space)

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