Is it a crime to send a birthday card?

In 2012 we highlighted the distressing situation that some grandparents have found themselves in if they send birthday cards or presents to their grandchildren they are estranged from, they get a visit from the Police.

Five years on and this is still happening.

Grandparents are being accused of harassment.

The accusers use the law that was intended for the serious act of stalking, once a complaint has been made the Police have to investigate.

A warning called a PIN can be issued (Police Information Notice)

In the guidance it says –

One reason the police get people to sign these notices is to show in possible future legal proceedings that a suspect was aware that their behaviour would count as harassment. This is important because the offence of harassment occurs where:

  • there has been a “course of conduct” (not just one event); and
  • the perpetrator knows or ought to know that their conduct amounts toharassment.-

-What is a “Police Information Notice”?

The police may issue notices where there are allegations of harassment. These notices sometimes have various names, including “Police Information Notices” (PINS), “Harassment Warning Notices” or “Early Harassment Notices”(EHNs). They have no statutory basis. They do not themselves constitute any kind of formal legal action. Therefore there is no formal police procedure which must be followed, and no set time limit during which they have effect.

The notices are not formal police cautions, and signing one does not imply that the alleged harassment has taken place. However the police may use them in future legal proceedings, and there is some guidance on what should be included in them. The decision about whether to issue them is purely an operational matter for the police.-

Grandparents who find themselves answering the door to the Police understandably are very distressed and confused.

In some cases it has caused grandparents to be fearful of leaving their homes, of going to the local shops incase they bump into the accusers. They become prisoners in their own homes.

They feel as though they have been criminalised.

We have a Police force that is seriously underfunded and yet their time is completely wasted in visiting grandparents because they dare to send their grandchildren cards and presents.

It does appear that there is no consistency in how this is managed by the Police Authorities around the UK.

Of course stalking and genuine harassment is a very serious matter, but this is ridiculous.

Grandparents are left suffering with serious depression and some feel suicidal as a result.

Where on earth does common sense prevail?

Those who make these allegations in my view should be charged with wasting Police time.

So the next time you go to pop a card or present around, be warned.

Five years on and we are still in this disgraceful situation.

I despair.





About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

View all Jane Posts


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