ABBREVIATIONS ON THE DPP'S INDEX CARDS
There is no contemporary key to the abbreviations used on the DPP’s index cards, but the following list has been compiled by the BCA with the help of the Crown Prosecution Service. The record of the DPP’s anti-obscenity campaign was compiled by a number of different people over several years, and it seems that different abbreviations - such as “O.D.” and “D.O.”, or “5” and “V” - were used for the same thing.
This field records the date of the legal decision about the postcard, not of the police action. In one case the Margate police were given objectionable postcards on 19 August 1953, and carried out two raids during the next ten days. But the DPP’s card records only the date of 16 October 1953, when Magistrates ordered the destruction of the twenty-seven designs that were seized.
This field records the name of the Magistrates’ Court or Quarter Sessions at which a legal decision was made about the postcard.
The DPP’s index cards have space to record whether the defendant in court was the printer, publisher, wholesaler, or retailer of the offending postcard. The list on the front of the index cards gives each of these a roman numeral, but most of the handwritten entries in fact use the equivalent number. The most common entry is “5”, indicating that the defendant was the “Retailer”. But some of them show “4”, indicating that the “Wholesaler and/or Distributor” appeared in court, and a very few show “3”, when the “Publisher and/or Distributor” was prosecuted.
- Adv S.W. Meaning unknown. Associated with case 3251/58 which did not lead to action. Perhaps indicates that the DPP's office advised police to obtain a search warrant.
- Bye Law Prosecuted under local Bye Laws. Proceedings in Hastings and Blackpool were brought under local Bye Laws, not under the Obscene Publications Act.
- Dis. Possibly denoting a discontinued case. Associated with just two cases - 2930/57 and 2913/63 - neither of which led to action.
- D.O. A "destruction order" was made by the Magistrates under the Obscene Publications Act, 1857.
- Fine Relates to case 2715/53, involving the prosecution of postcard publishers in Grimsby in 1953, and the related appeal in Lincoln in 1954. Denotes postcards where those found guilty on appeal were fined.
- G. Found guilty on appeal to the Quarter Sessions.
- N.A. Associated with cases which did not lead to action, possibly meaning that the police made "no application" to the Magistrates.
- N.G. Found "not guilty" on appeal to the Quarter Sessions.
- N.O. Declared “not obscene” by the Magistrates, or indicating that they made “no order for destruction” under the Obscene Publications Act, 1857, which amounted to the same.
- Not obs Found "not obscene" on appeal to the Quarter Sessions. Used only for cards in case 2148/54 which went to appeal in Bodmin.
- N.P.U. "Not put up" in court, although seized by the police.
- O.D. An "order for destruction" was made by Magistrates under the Obscene Publications Act, 1857.
- O.F. An "order for forfeiture" of material was made by Magistrates under the Obscene Publications Act, 1959. This is the equivalent of “O.D.” under the 1857 Act.
- P. | Pros Prosecuted.
- S.W. | S/W A "search warrant" was issued under the Obscene Publications Act, 1857 or 1959.
- S.W.R. Meaning unknown. Mostly appears as the result of court action in Marylebone in case 3600/53, but is also associated with cases 2524/53 and 2525/53 which did not lead to action. Possibly meaning that a search warrant was requested, but no further action was taken.
“D.P.P. REF.” FIELD
This field records the number of the DPP’s file relating to an individual prosecution. Unfortunately these files were destroyed by the DPP’s office, with the exception of file 2715/53, which relates to the prosecution of publishing companies in Grimsby in 1953, and their subsequent appeal to the Quarter Sessions in Lincoln in 1954. This file was released to the National Archives in 1999 as DPP 2/2288.