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Mr. Beith: The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble) laid great stress on the importance of ensuring that 10 to 16-year-olds should be subject to the anti-social orders, so will the Minister clarify why he believes that it is safe to exclude that age group from the orders in Scotland?

Mr. McLeish: I am treading a thin tightrope tonight between English and Scottish legislation. The crucial point is that England and Scotland are different jurisdictions. For the past 27 years, the children's hearings system has existed in Scotland on the assumption that children aged 16 and under will be subject to a specific series of provisions to ensure effective treatment, care and punishment. I do not want to stray into the debate as it applies to England, but, as my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office said, the measures could, in certain circumstances, be applied to those under 16.

In response to the question asked by the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh), I repeat that the crucial point is that we are talking about different jurisdictions, although we could argue about whether the orders should apply to the same age groups in both England and Scotland. When we consulted in Scotland, we noted tremendous support from many quarters for applying the orders to children under 16, but we resisted doing so because, in Scotland, there are already measures to deal with that age group--we felt that, after 27 years of progress, it was vital to keep the children's hearings system intact. That is why we are treating Scotland differently--I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not straying further into the more complex matter of English legislation.

The anti-social behaviour orders will be like a prohibitive injunction--in Scotland, we would call it an interdict. Moreover, it will be applied to individuals. Some hon. Members have talked about families; there will be many more orders affecting the family in England than in Scotland, where we are talking only about the anti-social behaviour order, which will be served on individuals, not on families or groups of people. It is important that I make that point, as it puts into perspective the wider concern that, in dealing with the anti-social behaviour of an individual, we may encompass the family.

Until now, families have been evicted for anti-social behaviour despite the fact that the children or the spouse were not involved--because of the activities of one family member, the whole family could be subjected to the difficulties and horrors of being evicted. The order will be a much sharper measure; it will allow us to concentrate on the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour and--in many cases, I hope--to save the family.

Mr. Andrew Rowe (Faversham and Mid-Kent): I was a member of the Scottish Office civil service team that introduced the children's panels all those years ago. Because of the nature of proceedings in Scotland, it is easy to link the child to the family--the parents have to accept the decisions and take responsibility for the offence. Will the Government revisit the question whether the Kilbrandon system would be equally effective in England?

Mr. McLeish: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not responding to that, although I am sure

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that my hon. Friend the Minister of State listened to what he said. As I have said, the jurisdictions are separate, and must find solutions to their own problems.

I have no difficulty with the principle behind amendment No. 147, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Perth. It is clearly right that a person against whom an anti-social behaviour order is made should know exactly what they must not do and where and for how long the order is to be in force. It is also important that those affected by the anti-social behaviour should be clear about what is prohibited by any order.

That provision does not need to be specified in the Bill, however. An order made by a Scottish court will, as a matter of course, specify extent, including geographical extent, duration and the prohibitions imposed on the person's behaviour. Like an interdict, the purpose of an order will be to prohibit--for example, it could prohibit loud music after 11 pm, noisy visitors after 2 am or entry into gardens or communal areas. The sheriff could consider a huge list of possibilities, so that the order fitted the circumstances in which the anti-social behaviour was taking place--the sheriff could find the proper ways in which to restrain that behaviour.

The court is also required to have regard to the terms of the order sought by the applicant. The hon. Member for Perth was not a member of the Standing Committee that considered the Bill, so she will not have had the opportunity to read the draft guidance on the implementation of the provisions that was provided to its members--I shall arrange for her to receive a copy. I reassure her that the guidance makes it clear to the local authority applicants that they must decide what terms of an order to seek and that the terms should be specific, so that what constitutes a breach of those terms would be readily apparent to the person and to the local community. The guidance also makes it clear that the applicant must decide what duration of order to seek, up to, and including, an indefinite period.

The draft guidance was produced in consultation with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and the voluntary organisation the Scottish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. It will be issued for full consultation later this summer.

I am sure that the hon. Member for Perth will be reassured when she sees the detailed guidance proposed for the implementation of the provisions. Of course, as more than a matter of courtesy, I should be happy to take account of her comments on the draft, which is a substantial document--as I said, I shall send her a copy after our proceedings. Given those comments, I hope that she will not press the amendment.

Mr. Beith: I should say in passing that Liberal Democrat Members accept Government amendment No. 13, which represents a helpful clarification.

We have had a useful debate. I thought that the hon. Members for Halesowen and Rowley Regis (Mrs. Heal) and for hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble) may have had unrealistically high expectations for the order. They both vividly expressed the concerns that we all share about the problems that our constituents face. The hon. Member for Halesowen and

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Rowley Regis explained at some length many of the existing measures based on co-operative efforts and partnership, which will almost certainly bring the greatest success--I think that even she regards the orders as the ultimate sanction.

The belief that the inclusion of 11 to 16-year-olds on anti-social behaviour orders will be widespread and will make a large difference flies in the face of what Ministers have been saying--it creates unrealistic public expectations about the orders. The public will believe that if the provision is altered, it will fail to provide what would otherwise be a major addition to the powers at the authorities' disposal--we know that that is not so.

The Scottish Office Minister clearly demonstrated--although perhaps he could not use these terms--that the Scots have a better system. In Scotland, those aged between 10 and 16 can be dealt with by a variety of procedures through the children's hearings system, which makes their inclusion in the anti-social behaviour orders unnecessary.

Mr. Michael: The right hon. Gentleman may recall that both my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I have made it clear that we believe that there are strengths in the Scottish system and weaknesses in the system in England and Wales. That is why, in the White Paper, the Bill and in other developments, we have wanted to change the system in England and Wales, not by replicating the Scottish system, but by learning from it and from what happens in other parts of the world.

Mr. Beith: And we are seeking to encourage Ministers to do exactly that. What has emerged from our useful debate is that, whatever some hon. Members say, those procedures will not be widely used for 10 to 16-year-olds if things proceed as Ministers intend. If we developed a better youth justice system, we could create a better way of dealing with that age group, but Ministers feel it necessary to keep that part of the provision on the statute book in the meantime. If that is the basis and because we will press Ministers to carry on with the reform of youth justice, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 13, in page 2, line 21, leave out from 'protecting' to end of line 22 and insert


'from further anti-social acts by the defendant--
(a) persons in the local government area; and
(b) persons in any adjoining local government area specified in the application for the order;
and a relevant authority shall not specify an adjoining local government area in the application without consulting the council for that area and each chief officer of police any part of whose police area lies within that area.'.--[Mr. Michael.]

Clause 6

Formulation and Implementation of Strategies

Mr. Beith: I beg to move amendment No. 75, in page 5, line 42, after 'area', insert


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