Cinemas (Admission of Children)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton 12:00 am, 24th November 1960

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the undesirability of juveniles seeing films of a sensationally morbid or violent character and the legal inability of the private Board of Film Censors to ensure that A and X films shall not be seen by juveniles, what steps he proposes to take to make the admission of juveniles to the showing of such films a legal offence.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

Cinema licensing authorities already have power to prohibit or restrict the admission of children by means of conditions attached to cinema licences. These conditions usually prohibit the admission of children under 16 to films which have been granted the X certificate of the British Board of Film Censors, and of unaccompanied children to films which have been granted the A certificate. A breach of a condition is an offence on the part of the licensee.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are not many instances of breaches being followed up by prosecutions, and will he not agree that, if it is granted that there is some correlation between the display of this type of film and juvenile delinquency, it is highly necessary that every step should be taken to see that this kind of film is not shown to juveniles?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said in the latter part of his supplementary question. I have no notification of the number of prosecutions that take place, but recently there has been discussion between the local authorities and the British Board of Film Censors on this subject.