These amendments enable the courts to include a requirement, in a supervision order made in criminal procedures, or in a supervision order made on the discharge of a care order, to the effect that a young offender will be required to remain in a specified place for a specified time between six o'clock at night and six in the morning. This condition is to be known as a night restriction requirement. The House will recall that a proposal of this general nature was put forward by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell), as a new clause in Committee. The proposal was extensively discussed during the Committee and Report stages of the Bill. At that time, what was envisaged was a free-standing power, but I said that the Government had come to the conclusion that a free-standing power would not be an effective addition to the powers available to the courts to deal with young offenders, but that the Government saw more promise in a power forming part of a strengthened package of supervision that would come with a supervision order, and that if such a power proved practicable on investigation we should endeavour to provide for it in the other place.
Directly after I made that announcement the Home Office consulted interested organisations. In the light of those consultations, the Government came to the conclusion that it would be possible to provide for such a requirement for juveniles within the framework of the supervision order. The Government accordingly decided to amend the supervision provisions of the Bill to enable a court to include in a supervision order a requirement that the young offender on whom the supervision order was imposed should remain in the place where he normally lived during specified hours on specified days, the requirement being carefully drawn to enable it to be added to the supervision order as part of a constructive package of additions and requirements. The necessary amendments to add these provisions to the Bill were made on Report in the other place.
The proposals are now included in clause 20 of the Bill. This amends section 12 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, which is the section giving power to include requirements in supervision orders. The essence of the amendments is set out in paragraph (aa)which amendment 32 adds to subsection (3C). In summary, the court will be enabled, after consultation with the supervisor, and subject to certain consent, to require the young offender to remain at home for up to 10 hours between 6 pm and 6 am on up to 30 nights during the first three months after the supervision order is made. I should emphasise here the provision made for consultation with the supervisor. There are further safeguards to ensure that the requirement is not imposed in inappropriate circumstances by the court.
There is a requirement to obtain the consent of the young offender, or if he is under 14, that of his parent or guardian. Then there is a requirement to obtain the consent of the parent or guardian or other person with whom the young person lives. Where appropriate the requirement may apply to more than one place. The young offender will not be confined absolutely to his home, he will be able to leave it during restricted hours if he is accompanied by his parent or guardian or by his supervisor, or by someone else specified in the order.
I shall now explain why we have decided to include the night restriction requirement in the Bill. A major difference between the power as originally envisaged by my hon. and learned Friend and the power as it now stands is that it is not a free-standing power but one that may be included as an integral part of a supervision order. Whatever the criticisms that have been made of the concept of a night restriction order there is general agreement that this is a better approach. The Government recognise that a supervision order is designed with the positive aim of encouraging the child to take part in a wide range of activities, and clause 20 of the Bill is designed to provide a framework for extending the use of intermediate treatment. But the Bill has included from the start a power requiring the offender to refrain from certain specified activities, and subsection (3C)(b)is a development from that provision. For the court, it provides a specific power of restraint which can be imposed on the offender. By so strengthening the supervision order, the courts might now see the new power as a realistic alternative to custody in appropriate cases, which is something we all wish to do.
The Government have been anxious that the courts should see in the strengthened supervision order a real alternative to the custodial disposal which they might otherwise be inclined to make, and I hope that the importance of that point will be recognised in the House. Our consultations with the Magistrates Association have made it clear that the night restriction order will be widely regarded as a useful addition to the powers available to the courts. It is rightly concerned about the behaviour of youngsters who get into serious trouble in the early or late evenings, when the temptations to offend, particularly when smallish groups gather together out of boredom, may prove too great.
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree with the estimate given by the Association of Directors of Social Services, which should know what it is talking about, that if each of the 1,000 magistrates' courts makes only one curfew order a month, the cost will be nearly £3 million a year? If the hon. and learned Gentleman agrees with that, does he not believe that we should use that money more effectively on other more proven methods of dealing with young offenders, such as intermediate treatment, which is kept short of funds by the Government? If he does not agree with that sum, what is his estimate of how much this inappropriate measure will cost?
If such a calculation were to be reliable, we should have to take into account the number of those cases—one a month in 1,000 courts—that otherwise would be awarded a custodial sentence and then study the cost of the custodial sentences.
I had already said, before the hon. Gentleman intervened, that it was our belief that a proportion of these can be used as genuine alternatives to custodial sentences. In other words, the offender would go into custody if it were not for the order. That has to be taken into account if we go in for the estimating business. We have to take into account whatever proportion we think is right of those who would go into custody, and what the cost of that would be. All that would be crystal-gazing.
The Government have never held that the scheme will be appropriate in each case, or even in most cases. However, it is an alternative to custody that is worth trying. We agree that it is dangerous, but sometimes necessary, to send a young offender into custody. We all want to find alternatives. The Government make this proposal as an additional alternative.
Some reservations have been expressed. I shall consider three main aspects—the role of the supervisor, the relationship within the family and the question of enforceability. The scheme requires the court to consult the supervisor as to the offender's circumstances and the feasibility of securing compliance with the requirement and to satisfy itself, having regard to the supervisor's report, that it is feasible to secure compliance with the order.
I sympathise with the misgivings about enforcement of the proposal, which has come to be called the curfew order. Such an order is not capable of being enforced 100 per cent. , any more than is the offence of driving while disqualified. All that one can say by way of sanction is "If you are caught, you are in further trouble".
It is important to bear in mind that the court must be satisfied that it is feasible to secure compliance. It must be satisfied on the basis of consultation with the supervisor.
The Government believe that this consultation with the supervisor will go a long way to meet the concern that many of the organisations consulted have expressed about the importance of taking account of the supervisor's views, and we hope that it will allay the fear that the inclusion of a night restriction requirement in a supervision order might be detrimental to the relationship of trust and goodwill between the supervisor and the offender and his family. That is important and common ground. Of course, there is a reciprocal element. The clause provides that the court may not make a night restriction order unless the supervised person consents or, if he is a child, his parent or guardian, consents to its inclusion in the order. This is crucial. The Government believe that the supervisor can build on the fact that consent has been given to develop a constructive relationship with the family.
The Government have considered very carefully the views of those who were concerned about the effect of a night restriction requirement on relationships within the family. These fears have ranged widely. Some have doubted whether the response of the parents in consenting to the order could genuinely take account of its implications; others thought that where relations between the parent and the child were bad, the night restriction requirement might merely make them worse and increase tensions within the home. There has also been a basic objection to parents having a formal part to play in carrying out the order of the courts. The Government have taken the fears seriously. We are anxious to promote in this Bill measures which will strengthen and not diminish the sense of parental responsibility, because we believe that a more effective exercise of parental control can do much to pull a child back from delinquent or criminal behaviour.
I am sorry to intervene again, but we are discussing an important matter. Will the parents of a child who is subject to a night restriction order be required or expected to report to the court any breaches by their child of the curfew order? If so, what are the likely consequences to parents who do not report breaches and to the relationship between parents and children if parents do report such breaches?
Parents will not be required to report. The problem involves what one means by "expected". If a parent has consented to an order one may reasonably hope that he will co-operate in enforcing the order, but there is no obligation.
We accept that in the case of a one-parent family, where there may be several children in deprived or difficult circumstances, a night restriction requirement will not have much to offer. In my lay opinion I think that only rarely would such an order be appropriate. Other examples can be thought of. That one can conjure up such examples does not invalidate the case for the power generally. They merely suggest that it is not right for every young offender. We accept that.
The safeguards in the Bill will, in the Government's view, help the courts to identify those cases where the exercise of the power would be inappropriate. The judgment of the supervisor, with whom the court will work closely, and the consent of the parent or guardian in the case of a child, are essential here. In those cases where a night restriction requirement can with advantage be added, the parent will know that he is backed up by an order of the court. He will start with the knowledge that the supervising officer was able to satisfy the court that the night restriction order was feasible, and that thereafter he can turn to the supervising officer for support and assistance.
The probation and social services have experience in ensuring that juveniles comply with the requirements of supervision, and their enforcement of the order will be supported by the power to take the offender before the court in breach proceedings if he fails to comply with the requirement. We have had that power for ages as a sanction for breach of probation. That, of course, would be pretty much a measure of last resort. Well before that stage, the supervisor would be able to consider what advice he could give to the family who were experiencing difficulties arising from the night restriction requirement.
If he came to the conclusion that it was clearly not working properly—perhaps for entirely acceptable reasons—he could apply to the court for its cancellation.
We believe that the requirement in the form in which it is expressed is a useful addition to the non-custodial disposals available to the courts. As such it is well worth a try and may be safely entrusted to the hands of experienced justices. I commend it to the House.
The night restriction requirement is a polite way of saying "curfew". We are discussing a totally new form of sentence which, in certain circumstances, can be imposed on children as young as 10 years old. It can certainly be imposed on children between the ages of 10 and 16. The Opposition consider that at best the proposal is unrealistic, ineffective and impracticable and at worst damaging and harmful. The principle of curfew met with no positive support by Opposition Members in Committee. It met with strong opposition from Labour Party members in another place. I cannot speak for peers from other parties. It has been criticised by several bodies of people who work regularly with juvenile offenders. We shall oppose the proposal tonight.
The new form of sentence is fraught with problems, some of which the Minister appreciates. The problems centre around securing compliance. They involve the feasibility of requiring the co-operation of parents, the offender and the supervisors. The amendment is different from that which we discussed in Committee. It is objectionable for different reasons, mainly because of the enforceability problem.
The proposal will create serious problems involving the relationship between probation officers and social workers and young offenders. The National Association of Probation Officers is strongly opposed to the proposal. That is important since it represents one of the professions which will have to supervise offenders in the new form of sentence.
The relationship between a probation officer or social worker and an offender—if it is to be useful and effective—requires a build-up of mutual trust, and, as the National Association of Probation Officers has put it, a careful balance between the elements of help and control. If probation officer; and social workers are to influence offenders for good, the enforcement of this provision could become a barrier because it might prejudice the development of a good and useful relationship.
I am grateful for the careful consideration that the hon. Lady has given to this matter. Clause 20(2), which I support, gives an important power to supervisors. They can tell a young offender where they shall live for a specified period or periods. They may have to present themselves to a person or persons—who may be the supervisor or somebody else—at specified hours. The supervisor may tell the young offender that he must participate in certain specified activities. The supervisor might have a great deal of control over the young person. That is not seen to be likely to damage the relationship. Why is it so different if the magistrates, after consultation, require the offender to stay at home with his parents with a supervisor being involved?
The hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) has helped with the point that I was making. The relationship between the supervising officer and the offender has to be almost friendly and one of mutual trust. If the offender is supervised and controlled to the extent described by the hon. and learned Member, I do not believe that mutual trust will be built up. The same point was made by the Minister in Committee when we were discussing an amendment relating to the police. It was suggested that the police should have greater control than is provided for in this amendment. The Minister said that involving the police in curfew arrangements would not assist the buildup of trust with young offenders, because the police would be asked to play a role that would not be effective and useful in building up such a relationship.
The supervisor will have to make random checks on the young person to see whether he is at home. How can that build up trust? Any breach of the curfew should be reported to the supervisor by the parents. How will that create mutual trust between the young offender and the supervisor, or the young offender and his parents, or between all three? That will not make for an effective and useful relationship between the probation officer or social worker and the child, who may be as young as 10, because we are talking about a sentence that can be imposed on a child aged from 10 to 16 years. The system is obnoxious, because for it to work effectively the social worker or probation officers would, in practice, be policing it. Their job is, and should be, to advise and assist offenders and not police them.
As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) has pointed out, the probation order legislation requires a youngster to refrain from doing certain things or going to certain places. What is the difference in principle between that and this new provision?
We are talking about a youngster being confined to his home—a child of 16 would be harder to confine than a child of 10—between 6 pm and 6 am. The supervisor could make random checks to see whether the young person was at home. That power does not exist at the moment—there is a curfew in connection with bail but that is totally different, and does not affect a child of 10.
Extra resources will be required. If extra work is to be imposed on probation officers and social workers we should know where the man and the woman power and finance are to come from so that the scheme does not fail through shortage of people or money. At the Association of Chief Probation Officers' recent conference, Mr. Michael Day, the chairman, expressed his anxiety that the Government were not providing a grant to the probation service to implement any of the provisions of the Bill. It was estimated that the proposed range of probation orders—community service orders for 16-year-olds, supervised activity orders and others—would cost about £3·5 million to establish.
No, because they are not only worried about manpower and money. They are worried about some of the principles involved. The National Association of Probation Officers is strongly opposed to the proposal, because it feels that it will create serious problems between supervising officers and offenders. That is a far more fundamental complaint than the one about money, which could, presumably, be overcome if the Government were prepared to provide more money and recruit more officers. They are worried about the operation and enforceability of the proposal.
The Bill says that it cannot quantify either the amount of money or staff needed for probation and after-care. That is a serious deficiency when we are discussing a new form of sentence. It would be wrong to introduce such a new sentence unless it can be properly enforced. It would undermine the authority of the courts and discredit the supervision order and the effectiveness of the new sentence. That is another argument against proceeding with the proposal.
If there is a breach of the order the supervisor will have to take the juvenile back to the court, regardless of the views, discretion or judgment of the supervisor. Breaches of the order may, presumably, lead to the custody of the offender. We must hope that there will not be too many breaches of the curfew and too many offenders placed in custody, because, according to the Minister, we are trying to keep young people out of custody by giving courts that additional power. It would be unfortunate if we found that breaches of the curfew were so extensive that people were being put into custody.
The question arises whether courts will be encouraged to impose supervision orders rather than custodial sentences. It is obviously to be hoped that in every case where there is an alternative to a custodial sentence courts will take it. We cannot be sure that this will happen. On the contrary, the courts could regard the order as an additional form of punishment and use it as a punishment when they would not normally have considered the matter sufficiently serious to merit imposition of an order. However, because the order is provided and Parliament has given the power, it is possible that some courts will use it as an additional punishment simply because it exists. It does not follow that courts will necessarily be encouraged to keep people out of custody.
Will there be a reduction in juvenile crime? Here again it is uncertain that simply by keeping young people indoors at night there will be a reduction in juvenile crime. Juvenile crime can take place during the day. There is an assumption that in the evening a young person could be up to no good. On the other hand, he could be up to a lot of good. He could be taking part in positive and constructive pursuits. I do not see the fact that it is after 6 pm as a reason for shutting him up in his home.
The young person involved in a constructive pursuit is not likely to be before the court. It is the young person who has got into trouble doing something destructive who is likely to be there. It is upon him that the supervision order might be placed.
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman saying that young people get into trouble only between 6 pm and 6 am and that they should therefore be shut up between those times? Is it assumed that they will not get into trouble at any other time round the clock? Such questions show why the proposal is so farcical.
Is it a punishment or is it a deterrent to crime? If the aim is to try to deter crime, it seems strange that the young person should be shut in his own home from 6 pm to 6 am and allowed free for the rest of the day to commit juvenile crimes. It is possible for even the worst offender to partake of some constructive pursuits. The assumption is that if he is shut in his own home with an inadequate, weak and unintelligent parent, he is far better off watching crime on the television with that parent than if he was outside following some constructive pursuit in a youth centre or taking part in a sporting activity, possibly accompanied by a supervisor or his parents.
The conception that he will be the better for being put away in his home in the evening is difficult to comprehend. I hope that the Minister will say whether the purpose is to punish the young person or to deter him from crime. If it is to deter him from crime, he can certainly use the daylight hours to carry on his criminal activities.
I come now to parental control. The Minister has already remarked, I believe, that parents differ and that parental control is unreliable. The Minister placed much emphasis on the fact that parents must consent where children under 14 years of age are involved. That does not get us out of the difficulty of the 14 to 16-year"olds where parental consent is apparently not required.
I understand how the hon. Lady has become confused about this matter. It is necessary, in the case of a child under 14, for consent to come from the parent or guardian on behalf of the child. It will always be necessary for the consent of the parent to be obtained if the order states that the child, during the relevant time, shall be at home with his parents. In that instance, it will be consent on behalf of the parent himself.
I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman. The fact remains that, even if the parent does consent, parents are not perfect. Parental control could still be unreliable, as the hon. and learned Gentleman pointed out in replying to an intervention. The parent could simply renege on his responsibilities, having given consent, and take no notice of what the child was doing. He might not care whether the child broke the curfew. There are one-parent families. It will be impossible for a probation officer or a social worker to assess, I would have thought, how a curfew order would affect the parent-child relationship or the sibling relationship in the family. The ideal answer, I presume, would be for the parent to report to the supervisor if the child absconded from curfew. I should have thought that this was extremely bad for the parent-child relationship. If a report was made, the child could be back in court facing the risk of being put into custody.
The more this measure is analysed, the more fraught with problems it seems to be. There is curfew now as a condition of bail. It is only occasionally used. It is often broken. It is broken, I understand, not in pursuit of a crime but in pursuit of a football match, a disco, a wedding or something of that nature. This is an indication of the problems that would face society by trying to keep 10 to 16-year-olds in their homes in the evening.
Another difference between this curfew and the bail curfew is that the responsibility for keeping bail curfew lies only with the deifendent. In this case, a third party is involved. Some may say that this makes for easier enforcement. However, given the problems that I have mentioned, I should have thought it would make it harder. Taking all these factors into account, the Minister has certainly not persuaded me—I do not think that he will have persuaded the House—that the problems which he touched upon will be solved simply by good will, which he presumably hopes to find on all sides.
This measure cannot succeed unless it involves the total commitment of all concerned. Anyone who has had any connection with juvenile offenders is extremely suspicious and doubtful of the possibility of achieving the total commitment of all concerned. There is serious danger that the measure will be unenforceable and even positively damaging. We shall vote against it.
I know that the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) has such a delightfully open mind that she is open to persuasion. If she looks at clause 20 as a whole, she will approve of most of it. I am sure that she supports the concept of intermediate treatment that involves a great many requirements to be attached to supervision orders. This clause emanates from the Magistrates Association. I emphasise that because I was amazed to hear the hon. Lady say that no one involved in the treatment of young offenders supported the proposal.
The idea of such a restriction came from the Magistrates Association in a resolution passed last year. I am proud to be able to say that the idea initially came from a resolution of the Hertfordshire magistrates. I have discussed the idea with experienced juvenile court magistrates in my area and with other juvenile court magistrates in inner London who have special knowledge of the problems of young people in inner cities. The idea has their support.
It is generally agreed that it is not only the supervisor—the probation officer—who has a part to play in the treatment of young offenders, particularly the 10 to 16-year-old offenders. The country takes the view that parents have an important responsibility for the maintenance of discipline among their children. The courts have not only a power but a duty to look carefully at the circumstances of each individual young offender who comes before them. In clause 20, we introduce the concept of the night restriction order, imposed by a court after careful consultation with the parents, whose agreement would be necessary, and with the supervisor, whose advice would be necessary. But before we got to that concept we put in powerful powers to enable probation officers to carry out intermediate treatment. I support those powers and I go along with what the hon. Member for Ormskirk said about the need to provide money to make intermediate treatment effective.
However, that treatment does not have to be soft and gentle. I am in favour of gentleness where it is possible, but we must not have something weak and ineffective. One has had ample opportunities to read about and to witness schemes such as the university of Lancaster scheme and the Medway close-support scheme which get a grip on the young offender. They find out where the young offender has gone wrong and :hake sure that he goes to school and remains at school. When the youngster comes out of school at break, they make sure that he does not buzz off. When school is over they pick the young offenders up and explain to them why they have gone wrong in the first place or take them to some constructive activity, perhaps a youth club, a leisure centre or a carpentry course. That is an excellent approach to the treatment of young offenders.
The same approach is involved in the night restriction clause. It is an insult to parents to think that inviting their 10 to 12-year-olds to remain at home with them for the evening is something wholly negative and ineffective. It is true that some parents are hopelessly incapable of looking after their youngsters whether they be 10 or 16 years old. As my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State said, a sensible court would not impose a night restriction order in such a case. But there are many other cases where the parents would be only too glad to be involved if the opportunity were brought to their attention. They would have the opportunity to bring their boy or girl under control with the assistance of the probation officer. That is the purpose of the order.
After insisting that the juvenile court examines each case individually, the clause gives the court the power to say, for example, "Here is a parent who can and will cooperate and here is a young person going out on the streets late at night and getting into trouble." That young person will probably start off innocently, perhaps going to a disco, but then he may get into a group and perhaps cause some criminal damage, perhaps more than once. I am not suggesting that the court would necessarily use this power the first time that the youngster causes trouble, but after he has built up a record of unruliness and stupidity and it may be desirable to get him back in the home and to get the parents involved. There are a significant number of cases where such a power would be beneficial. I was glad to hear my hon. and learned Friend say that the power should be regarded as an alternative to custody.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk), who taught me a great deal during the passage of the Bill. I know how ineffective residential care can be and what a high rate of recidivism there can be even from local authority care that is non-criminal. For example, 66 per cent. of those in such places are likely to re-offend and come before the criminal courts again within two years. At borstals and youth custody establishments the figure increases to 70 per cent. or 75 per cent. We were told in Committee that it can cost £10,000 a year to keep a young person in residential care. That figure has been confirmed by those at the university of Lancaster and others with whom I have discussed the matter. Residential care establishments are expensive and frequently ineffective.
The clause seeks, in suitable cases, to get a young person who has got out of hand to go back home and to stay there during certain limited hours. We talk about the hours from 6 pm to 6 am, but probably it will be important that a young person should be home by 8 pm and stay in until bed time, instead of hanging around the streets until 10 pm or 11 pm and getting into trouble. That is the sort of guidance that the courts can insist upon under this sensible proposal.
I have confidence in our courts, particularly our juvenile courts, in the supervisors and probation officers—in general—and in the parents whose children sometimes get into trouble, but who, if their duty is brought home to them, will play a constructive part. Putting them all together will be beneficial.
My discussions with a number of senior probation officers do not reflect the apparent opposition of the National Association of Probation Officers. I was astonished to hear the notion of non-co-operation with the courts coming from such responsible people. I am sure that those connected with that resolution are not typical of the excellent probation service.
I detected just a tinge of arrogance in the supervisors thinking that no one else could be beneficially entrusted with such great powers. I am deeply grateful to my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State, who has been pushed, sometimes importunately, by me, as I have had the confidence of being backed by the Magistrates Association, for pressing on and having extensive consultations on the matter.
The proposal will not be the solution to every juvenile criminal problem. The fact that examples can be given where it would not be the appropriate remedy does not establish that it will not be a useful remedy in a significant, perhaps not huge, number of cases. I am grateful for the fact that it has found its place in the Bill and I hope that it will receive the support of the whole House.
The hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) is the originator of the proposal, which has been much watered down, amended, qualified and honed since it was discussed in Committee. He spoke in support of it in an eminently reasonable and sensible way.
I start by reaffirming what my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Dubs) and I said in Committee. I do not oppose the curfew or night restriction order in principle. I oppose it because I have been persuaded by those who ought to know best—those who will have to supervise it—that it has a number of serious difficulties, inadequacies and drawbacks that will be counterproductive to the objective that the hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead and I share.
The hon. and learned Member ended his speech by complimenting his hon. and learned Friend the Minster of State on the series of consultations which he conducted during the months since we served on the Standing Committee. The Government have consulted widely and extensively—as befits the introduction of a major new departure of this kind which gives additional powers to the courts for dealing with juvenile offenders—a massive range of organisations and individuals who have professional knowledge of the subject that we are discussing. Some of them opposed the scheme. I do not know of any organisation—apart from one—which endorsed it, thinks it a good idea, wants to see it on the statute book, or thinks that it will work. The hon. and learned Gentleman and the Minister quoted only the Magistrates Association. However, as they know, many individual magistrates, magistrates' branches and perhaps now a substantial majority of magistrates oppose this measure not in principle but on the ground that it is impracticable.
Let us consider the organisations. I am talking about the organisations which will have to administer the scheme. All of them oppose it: the Association of Directors of Social Services, the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, the British Association of Social Workers, the Association of Chief Officers of Probation, NACRO, the National Association of Probation Officers, New Approaches to Juvenile Crime, the Nation Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Nation Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations, the National Intermediate Treatment Federation, and the National Youth Bureau.
The hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead guffaws. I do not know to which organisation he objects—the National Youth Bureau or the National Intermediate Treatment Federation. He alluded to the latter in an approving way. Whatever doubts his implicit comments cast on the credibility of those organisations, they have responsibility, knowledge and experience of the juveniles whom we are discussing this evening. They are the organisations whose voices should be heard with respect and deference.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I have intervened many times this evening. I hope that this will be the last time.
The hon. Gentleman read out a list of eminent bodies. I have had the opportunity of talking to some of them. However, does he not agree, from his own wide experience, that when a new idea emerges, particularly one which involves a small element of risk, getting such bodies to go on the line and commit themselves is not always easy? In private discussions one often gets much sympathy and constructive thought from them. I pay tribute to the constructive help that I have had from members of those bodies—or many of them—to which the hon. Gentleman referred. However, the fact that they come out with a resolution in no way proves that the vast majority of their members take a particular view, especially when it concerns a new idea.
I cannot allow the hon. and learned Gentleman to get away with that. Indeed, he would not expect me to do so. We accept that he speaks for his constituents, because that is the system under which we operate. We must therefore accept, because we have no other evidence, that the Association of Directors of Social Services and NACRO—both of which, I assume, have circulated memoranda to every right hon. and hon. Gentleman—speak for their organisations. There is no evidence to the contrary.
I do not object to the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposal in principle. I wish I could believe that it would be an alternative to custody. That was largely the burden of his remarks. If I could believe that the night restriction order were a viable alternative to custody, I should be much more sympathetic towards it. However, I do not believe that will be so. Moreover, I do not think that the Minister believes it either. I imagine that, in practice, this power will be used simply as an additional restriction to what in any event will already be a non-custodial sentence.
We shall see. We shall both table questions—of course, I shall still be in the House and the hon. and learned Gentleman will not after the next general election—to discover whether the number of juveniles going to penal establishments or local authority residential establishments actually declines after the commencement of this legislation and this restriction order. The hon. and learned Gentleman or the Minister may wish to take a small bet. Unfortunately, I never bet, but I am sure that this proposal will not in any way affect the numbers going to custodial establishments.
There are five major objections in practice to curfew orders. First, as my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said, in speaking to her amendment, they will have to be enforced by probation officers and social workers. By placing those people in the role of policemen, we shall damage the relationship between the juveniles and their supervising officers—a relationship which is crucial to their proper working together. I shall not quote, but the probation officers' brief says that its members are totally opposed to this proposal. It points out that they try to develop a caring relationship and that they do not want to have to act as social policemen.
The hon. and learned Gentleman made great play in his speech, and when intervening in my hon. Friend's speech, of the existence of certain conditions under supervision orders. He is quite right. I am well aware that some of the intensive intermediate treatment schemes—for example, the Medway close support unit, which he cited—operate a form of curfew which is enforced as part of a contractual approach, but the approach is one of co-operation between the unit staff, the parents and the juvenile offender. That approach is quite different from what is suggested tonight, which is a requirement laid down by magistrates as a specific condition of a court order.
The hon. and learned Gentleman may not know the difference, but I suggest that there is a fundamental difference between a mutually co-operative and agreed set of rules and procedures obtained under the intermediate treatment scheme currently being operated in Kent and the new requirement that he suggests. In any event, the schemes that we already have do not require that the child remain at home during the long hours envisaged in these arrangements. At best, they usually require that the child be back in the parental home by 10 o'clock in the evening.
Secondly, as my hon. Friend said, NACRO has argued that the curfew requirements are likely to be violated frequently, that detections will be virtually impossible, and that the scheme will be almost unenforceable. We should therefore be in danger of bringing the law into disrepute with young impressionable people who will make it almost a point of honour to get out at night and be seen by their friends to be breaking the curfew. If we wish to engender respect for the law in young people, as I assume we do, this is not the right way to do it.
Thirdly, the imposition of such a requirement—this has been pointed out, but the Minister did not deal with this argument adequately—is likely to increase tension and to worsen relationships within families, thereby placing children at greater risk in future than in the past. Parents who succeed in enforcing a curfew requirement do not need help. Parents who already have that kind of authority and concern do not need a legal requirement to keep their children home at night or to supervise them in other ways. The parents who reed that kind of support for their parental role, who need the court behind them saying "Your child must remain at home between these hours", are the parents who are inadequately equipped to enforce it in practice.
The hon. and learned Gentleman cannot win. Both ways will exacerbate the family relationships and make them worse, not better. Parents will be able to connive in the child's breaching of the order. I do not want the parent to "shop" his child when he breaches the order, but unless that is done the parent will be seen by the child to be conniving in his breach of the law. That is not a good position for parents to be placed in.
Curfews will be extremely oppressive to parents, particularly conscientious ones. If parents are to make a serious attempt to ensure that their children abide by the terms of the curfew, they will be imprisoned in their homes with their children. How else will they fulfil their parental obligations and duties under the law to ensure that the child is at home? That will be an onerous obligation on one-parent families. It means that a single parent, whose child has been subject to a night restriction order, will effectively not be able to go out in the evening without running the risk of the child breaking the conditions of the order.
The probation service, and indeed the social services department, will be required to devote a considerable amount of their manpower and financial resources deploying staff in the evenings for no better purpose than to enforce the curfew, using resources which would be far better and more constructively directed to areas where we know that proper supervision in the community or intermediate treatment will work.
The amendments, passed in another place and sponsored by the Government, are unhelpful. They are objectionable, expensive and likely to do more harm than good. I hope that some hon. Members will join us in opposing them.
I disagree slightly with the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk). I am opposed to a curfew order on principle. It is a fundamentally wrong way to attack juvenile crime. I also object in principle to the euphemism "night restriction order". Whether we ask for their consent or not, we are putting a curfew on young people against their will by and large and, despite parental consent, against the parents' will. If this amendment is agreed to tonight we shall build up for ourselves a severe problem which may well become intractable.
To examine the position logically we must ask ourselves several questions. First, will a curfew be enforceable? A curfew means that a restriction must be enforced. One can enforce a military curfew by ordering troops out to arrest or shoot on sight. I do not think any hon. Members would want to order the military out to arrest or shoot on sight 10-year-olds. In that sense the word "curfew" is ridiculous. We might also ask ourselves whether, if parents are to become the gaolers of such children, they could ask for rate relief on their premises because I believe that prisons have rate relief.
How shall we handle a breach of the order? The hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) brought out that problem. Will the children go back to the court if they are in breach of the curfew, and when? Will it be after the first, the second or the third breach? If they go back, what will the court do and how will it impose a custodial sentence?
I must remind the House what I said on Report about new clause 39. I said that I was concerned how—especially in large conurbations where the curfew order would be used most—I am thinking particularly of cities such as Greater London, Manchester and Liverpool—a young offender who was breaking the curfew order could be found other than by making large police trawls of the streets. Now we are told that the supervisors will make random visits to the homes. At a time of Government cuts and economic retrenchment, how will we find staff in the probation and social services of the local authorities who will be able to make such random checks? Will social workers and probation officers, who are already overworked, be even further overworked?
I have concluded that a curfew order will not be enforceable. It will rely solely and completely on the good faith of parents and children, who may, by and large, volunteer to have a curfew order imposed upon them because it is an easy solution, and, a few weeks after the curfew order has been imposed, either the parent or the child will say "Blow this; I am fed up. I do not like the curfew order." The parents will feel a restriction upon them, as, naturally, will the child.
What do we envisage parents will do if a child breaks the curfew order? This is the most appalling aspect of the matter. I am a parent of a mature child who is no longer under my supervision or in my house. If I had had to make a decision whether to report my child at the age of 10, 11 or 12—fortunately, there were no curfew orders at that time and she was sensible enough not to get herself into trouble—how could I? The hon. Member for Ormskirk laughs. My daughter is a sensible woman. However, that is beside the point.
If I were obliged to make that decision, how would I react to telling the probation officer or the social worker that my child had breached the curfew order? I would be reluctant to "shop" my child to the authorities. That is another reason why the curfew is not enforceable. Parents will not "shop" their children unless they go in for that sort of thing. They will not consider it to be their responsibility. If a night restriction order is not enforceable by random visits or by depending on the parents to "shop" the children, the order will not be effective.
Another point which stems from whether parents should be expected to report their children for a breach of a curfew order is that any good relationship between child and parent will be destroyed. Parents will be seen to be complying with the enforced curtailment of their child's liberty. The Government argue that regulations enable any blame to be transferred to the law and hence the law would be helping out parents. However, parents must accept that transference. I might say, although it is a point of little validity, that the transference of blame to the law in the family is an extremely woolly concept. I do not believe that it is possible.
Night restriction orders will have a profound effect on family life. The hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) talked about proper family discipline and its enforcement. Those who have had children know a lot about that. I have no doubt that he does himself. If he does, he will know that proper family discipline comes from mutual trust between parent and child. It does not come from outside enforcement. It does not come from placing the parent in an almost Quisling situation whereby children are threatened that the police will be informed if the curfew order is not obeyed.
The hon. Member for Ormskirk has given us some valuable information. I must pay tribute to him, as did the hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead, for his valuable contributions to the debates through all the stages of the Bill. We have been told that it will cost about £3 million a year to work an ineffectual system and to impose what in many ways amounts to a voluntary custody order. That is against a background of economic retrenchment, when there are insufficient social workers and probation officers to carry out even their present duties. It is against the background of unwilling parents and of all professional bodies which are connected with the care of young offenders—other than the Magistrates Association—being opposed to the whole concept of a curfew order.
I hope that the House will reject the amendment. We shall certainly vote against it.
I apologise because, unintentionally, I missed the beginning of the debate.
The hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Pitt) said that family discipline came through trust. He is absolutely right. When I was a child I could trust in the fact that, if I was rude, I would get a smack in the mouth. To that extent, family discipline certainly does come from trust.
It should not be necessary to repeat what has been said in Committee and in the House, but it is not an argument against this measure to put forward occasions when such a penalty would not be a suitable way of dealing with a young offender. In 95 per cent. of cases which come before the courts this course of action would probably be a most unsuitable way to deal with a young offender. However, there may be occasions when it would be a sensible and helpful punishment.
The hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said that there would have to be total commitment on all sides. There must be a good deal of commitment—perhaps not total commitment—on the part of the parents and the child, and to that extent I go along with the hon. Lady. It would be sensible to go ahead with such a punishment only if the magistrates felt that that commitment existed.
I shall cite an example of a case in which such a sentence might appeal to a court. A young man may have got into trouble in the evenings because he has fallen into bad company. He may have been going round with a gang of people who are perhaps, worse than him. Let us say that he comes from a reasonably good family and is ashamed of what he has done. His parents will try to stop him doing it again, but all sides acknowledge that the gang acts as a lure and that he may want to join it again. What does the court have in mind when sentencing? It considers the need to sever his relationship with the gang, if possible, and to prevent him from going out with it for as long as possible. By fining him or his parents, the court will not sever his relationship with the gang. By sending him to some institution, it may curtail his relationship with the gang, but that might be the type of custodial sentence that we do not want. The court needs to punish him in a way that will prevent him from associating with such people, at least for a little while. In such a case the magistrates' court might find the proposed sentence attractive.
A very persuasive brief was sent to us by the Association of Directors of Social Services. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) that such briefs represent the views of every one of the members. The hon. Gentleman said that we speak for our constituents. I speak for my constituents, but I certainly do not assume that I speak as every one of my constituents would wish. That is the case with every organisation. However, we received a persuasive brief from the association. Having read it, I am convinced that there may be difficulties. It is not certain whether the measure will prove successful, but it is worth trying. The risks consequent on its failure are not great. Considerable advantages would attach to its success. Therefore, I believe that it is a brave, imaginative idea, and I am glad that the Minister has persisted with it.
The growth in the number of young offenders is frightening, and we must be careful before turning down any suggestion that might help to tackle a difficult and increasing problem.
When this proposition was first put to us, I understood that it was a desirable aim that young people who had been getting into serious trouble and who were of school age should be kept off the streets late at night. It was said that this was not a new idea; that it had existed for some years as a condition of bail.
On that basis, I was prepared to consider the arguments for and against introducing a curfew, specifically because it was argued that it would provide one way of reducing the number of young people in custody. There have been many arguments in the House and in the other place about the measure. I have had increasing misgivings about it. It may go much wider than an alternative to imprisonment and become another form of punishment when imprisonment is not an option. I see it being applied to those above school age. The original amendment put to the Standing Committee applied to those above school age. Even now it applies to young people up to the age of 17, at which stage they .are above the compulsory school age. It may be applied for much longer hours than originally proposed. Indeed, 6 o'clock in the evening is quite early, particularly in the summer.
I can well understand why "curfew" has been changed to "night restriction requirement". The word "curfew" has unpleasant connotations. However, the change in nomenclature will not make the concept more acceptable.
I have three main concerns about the provision. It is said that the proposal will be applied only with the consent of the parents and the young person. However, that consent will apparently be obtained under duress. I cannot imagine a parent or young person refusing to accept the proposition if the alternative is custody. Consent that is obtained under duress is no consent. To that extent it is slightly hollow to say that parents and children will have to agree. They are almost bound to agree because of the conditions under wh:Lch consent is being sought.
Like other hon. Members, I am concerned about the position of the probation officers and social workers who will supervise the night restriction requirement. The Minister said that if parents noticed that their children were not conforming to the requirement, they would not be under any obligation or pressure to report that fact to the police or to the court. I listened carefully, but I do not think that the Minister made any similar statement about the role of probation officers or social workers. As they operate in an official capacity, I wonder whether they will be obliged to report such breaches. The Minister may suggest that they will not be obliged to do so.
What would happen if such a breach were made known to the authorities? Would the police be obliged to arrest the individual, or would the court be obliged to reconsider the young offender's case? The night restriction requirement is apparently being imposed only as an alternative to custody, but I fear that the consequence of breaching the order will be custody. The Minister may say that that is not so— that it is possible that the requirement is being imposed not merely as an alternative to custody, but for other reasons. Many of us have doubts on that point and I hope that the Minister will clarify it.
I am afraid that this new requirement will encourage the police to spend more time stopping young people to see whether they are in breach of the requirement. That additional factor may worsen relationships between the police and the young. Inevitably the police will see the provision as the easiest way of stopping young people to check whether they are under the restriction. If for no other reason than that, the House should be very careful before giving its approval to any measure that may worsen the relationship between the police and the young.
I have listened to the arguments before, and I have become increasingly doubtful whether the proposal is sensible. I am persuaded by the arguments from the Opposition Benches that it would be a retrograde step if, on the basis of the details suggested, the House were to approve the measure. Therefore, I hope that the amendment will be approved and this proposal thrown out.
I oppose the proposal because of a point made by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Parris). He said that he did not think it would do much harm even if it did not do very much good. It is that evaluation of the dangers implicit in the proposal which is the divide between us. One can think of cases in which a court might apply this type of curfew order where it might actually do some good. The important question however is "What is the balance?". That is always an important question in any type of punishment. Those of us who have taken the view that the balance is against the proposal will be proved right if the Government succeed tonight and this proposal goes ahead.
The danger of the proposal is that it might increase the feeling that the police harass young people on the street. We have just removed "sus", and did so precisely for that reason. On this type of issue, the police may be acting properly according to their lights and think that it is right to stop young people to find out whether they are subject to such a supervision order and, in those circumstances, come up against innocent young people who bitterly resent being approached in this way. The upshot may be different from the view that the sponsor has taken from the beginning, that it is a modest item of law reform that might do good and would not do any harm. It might turn out to be like "sus", and do a considerable amount of harm.
I have a technical question. My hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) said that the parent had to be consulted. My understanding of the provision is that the parent has to be consulted only if the supervised person is a child and not a young person. Therefore, if the person is more than 14 years old, the parent does not have to be consulted and an order might be made that the child has to remain at home between 6 pm and 6 am at times and in conditions to which the parent might object strenuously. I cannot think of anything more detrimental to the natural harmony of family life than having a 14 or 15-year-old son at home who is not wanted there and who would much rather be out. It is true that the proposal contained in one of the amendments from the other place says that there must be a report stating that the feasibility of securing compliance is accepted. No doubt the Government rest on that in saying that the parent would have to be consulted by the supervisor.
That brings me to my third and major objection. The supervisors do not like the proposal. The probation service is opposed to the proposal. How will the Government make it work if the probation service, as the main agency, will not co-operate to make it work? I know only too well how final that can be. I have always believed that a social welfare report ought to be available to counsel before a trial even if the accused is pleading not guilty. The National Association of Probation Officers took a decision in 1972 not to allow that. When I was at the Home Office I protested strongly and tried to insist that it should be allowed because it is in the interest of the accused that his counsel sees the report before he decides what his plea will be. We were never able to reverse that decision because it was thought that since the probation service would not work with that edict, it was not worth trying to introduce it. I suspect strongly that the probation service will not work with this proposal. If the service refuses, it will not matter whether the court makes an order. The only people who will enforce it then are the police, which brings me back to the point that I made at the beginning—if the police have to go about trying to enforce these orders, there will be a serious deterioration in relationships, which are already all too bad in the inner cities between young people and the police.
I do not know what it is that leads so many people in Britain to react with such extreme caution to any new idea, but whatever it is has had full rein in this debate.
The proposal has never been put forward, by the Magistrates Association, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) or the Government when they came to adopt the principle of the night restriction order, that this was something that would necessarily, even in most cases, be appropriate when a court is confronted with the need to sentence a young offender. It has always been put forward as a promising alternative to the non-custodial options that are already available to the courts in such a case. So many of the objections voiced tonight, from the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) onwards, have concentrated only upon the circumstances in which it could go wrong. The hon. Lady said how sad it would be if there were many breaches of the supervision order. Of course it would be sad. Whether there are a high proportion of breaches will depend in large measure upon the skill with which magistrates and other courts weigh the possibilities of it being a success. It is in order to help them find the right answer that we require them to consult the intended supervisor. It is in order to help them find the right answer that we require them to obtain the consent of the child or the youngster and, similarly, the consent of his parent. It is not only in the case of a child that a parent, in the type of circumstances that we are considering, would have to give consent, because section 12 of the Children and Young Persons Act would require that the court would not include in such an order any requirement that would involve the co-operation of a person other than the supervisor and the supervised person unless that person consents to such an inclusion. If we are talking about requiring a child to stay at home, that person would be the parent and so the parent's consent would be required in those circumstances.
The magistrates or the court might not always wish the child to reside in a parent's home. That may not be a suitable place and therefore the provision is not put in that rigid way.
An important consideration is how much confidence we have in the courts. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead said in a speech today that it is a question of confidence; in the courts, in the probation officers, welfare and social workers and in parents. He said that putting all these together would be very beneficial. I agree that if we do not have confidence in any of those, either severally or jointly, the proposal is doomed to failure. If we believe that the courts are blind and deaf to what Parliament has said by way of guidance it will be doomed to failure. I do not believe that the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) can take that line because he has been insistent on having guidelines written into the Bill so that the courts shall see in black and white how they are to exercise their discretion.
The courts will see what the restraints or safeguards on this new jurisdiction are. It will be a matter for their experience and judgment whether they use it. Perhaps the most important of the restraints is that they have to consult whether it would be feasible for an order to be made, and they have to be satisfied that if they made the order it would be feasible for it to be carried out.
A great deal has been said about the probation service not co-operating. I do not believe that the probation service as a whole would fail to co-operate if Parliament so asked but if a supervisor who was a probation officer or a supervisor who was a social worker made it clear that he was dead against it, I imagine that it would be rare that a court, notwithstanding that, would say that it would make the order and require that person to be the supervisor.
I feel that this is a case of the hon. Lady and other Opposition Members treading a path on which they fear that every corner will be beset by tigers. I do not think that that is a wise or justifiable approach. The hon. Lady asked whether, if it is to be an alternative to custody, it will mean that, when offenders are brought back for breach of the supervision order, a custodial order will be made. The answer is "No". There is no provision for a custodial sentence for a breach of a supervision order. In those circumstances the court may impose a fine or make an attendance centre order, and it would not result in further custodial sentences.
As for resources, we all want more resources for the probation services. We are not aware of the calculation that apparently is attributed to the Association of Directors of Social Services, but I think it could have been made only on the basis that additional probation officers would be needed for the purpose, and we do not believe that they would be needed in any significant number, if at all.
We have a long way to go and I do not intend discourtesy to those whose points I have not dealt with. I believe that the provision is a useful addition to the law in what will no doubt be a minority of cases, and it is in that spirit that I hope the House will approve it.
|Division No. 317]||[7.1 pm|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)|
|Ancram, Michael||Madel, David|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Major, John|
|Bendall, Vivian||Marlow, Antony|
|Benyon, Thomas (A'don)||Mates, Michael|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Mather, Carol|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus|
|Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Bright, Graham||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Mellor, David|
|Bruce-Gardyne, John||Moate, Roger|
|Chalker, Mrs. Lynda||Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Murphy, Christopher|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)||Neale, Gerrard|
|Cope, John||Needham, Richard|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Neubert, Michael|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Newton, Tony|
|Dover, Denshore||Osborn, John|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Page, Richard (SW Hens)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Elliott, Sir William||Percival, Sir Ian|
|Faith, Mrs Sheila||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Renton, Tim|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Forman, Nigel||Ridley, Hon Nicholas|
|Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||Rossi, Hugh|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.|
|Greenway, Harry||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Grieve, Percy||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds)||Silvester, Fred|
|Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)||Sims, Roger|
|Grist, Ian||Speed, Keith|
|Gummer, John Selwyn||Speller, Tony|
|Hamilton, Hon A.||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Stanley, John|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Stevens, Martin|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Stradling Thomas, J|
|Hawksley, Warren||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Thompson, Donald|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Trippier, David|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Viggers, Peter|
|Kershaw, Sir Anthony||Waddington, David|
|Lang, Ian||Ward, John|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Warren, Kenneth|
|Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Wells, Bowen|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)||Wheeler, John|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|McCrindle, Robert||Mr. David Hunt and|
|MacGregor, John||Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.|
|Alton, David||Leighton, Ronald|
|Anderson, Donald||McCartney, Hugh|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||McNally, Thomas|
|Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)||McWilliam, John|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Marks, Kenneth|
|Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N)||Milian, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton ltchen)|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Newens, Stanley|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon A.(M'b'ro)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S)||Parry, Robert|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)||Penhaligon, David|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Pitt, William Henry|
|Crowther, Stan||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Cryer, Bob||Prescott, John|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Race, Reg|
|Davidson, Arthur||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Deakins, Eric||Robertson, George|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Dormand, Jack||Rooker, J. W.|
|Dubs, Alfred||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Rowlands, Ted|
|Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Sandelson, Neville|
|Evans, loan (Aberdare)||Sever, John|
|Field, Frank||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Skinner, Dennis|
|Foulkes, George||Spearing, Nigel|
|Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|George, Bruce||Stoddart, David|
|Graham, Ted||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Tinn, James|
|Hardy, Peter||Welsh, Michael|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Whitlock, William|
|Hooley, Frank||Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Mr. Frank Haynes and|
|Lamond, James||Mr. George Morton.|
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
Clause 20 provides that a court should not itself include requirements in a supervision order on a juvenile offender unless it had first consulted the supervisor. Some concern was expressed in the House that that brief provision was inadequate. This amendment therefore makes more detailed provision. It specifies that the court's consultation with the supervisor must be about the offender's circumstances and about the feasibility of securing compliance with the requirements that the court has it in mind to include in the supervision order. The amendment also requires the court to satisfy itself, on the basis of that consultation, that it is in practice feasible to secure compliance with those requirements. That is the package that we have just been discussing in relation to the night restriction order.
I welcome the amendment, which follows an assurance that was given to me by the Minister on Report. If a supervisor is to enforce the requirements of a supervision order effectively, he must not feel that its enforcement would be either impracticable or unreasonable. By giving a supervisor the opportunity now to comment on the feasibility or desirability of any requirement that the court may be considering, this provision should help to ensure that the partnership between the courts and supervisors is effective and constructive.