Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th April 1999.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Labour, Gedling 12:00 am, 26th April 1999

What assessment he has made of the extent to which magistrates are using the new powers contained in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998; and if he will make a statement. [80949]

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The new orders contained in the Act—including the anti-social behaviour orders—have been widely welcomed as of great importance in helping the police and local authorities to reduce crime and disorder. I have kept in close touch with lay and stipendiary magistrates about the provisions of the Act.

We are monitoring the use being made of all the new disposals. The first full set of statistics should become available this summer, but the experience in the pilot areas to date has been encouraging.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Labour, Gedling

Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity to congratulate Gedling borough council and Nottinghamshire police on their work in implementing the 1998 Act? However, will he ensure that magistrates throughout the country implement with full force the new powers that they are given in the Act, so that we can start to tackle the anti-social behaviour in our communities that people so much want to be tackled? In that light, the anti-social behaviour orders contained within the Act are crucial and need to be implemented with full force.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I pay tribute to the work of Gedling borough council and Nottinghamshire police—and to the leadership shown by my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Coaker), because I note from the reports that I have received, not least from the visit paid by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, what good work is going on there.

To date, the evidence about the orders that are being piloted is encouraging. It shows, for example, that, in the pilot areas, over 2,000 police reprimands have been issued, as well as over 1,000 final warnings, 350 reparation orders, 213 action plan orders and 41 parenting orders. There is great expectation about the anti-social behaviour orders. They are fully backed by local authorities and the police. We expect some early applications to be made soon and there will be an equal expectation—which I very much hope will be fulfilled—that the courts will recognise the importance placed upon those orders.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Shadow Secretary of State

May I say, on behalf of the Opposition, that we have all been appalled to hear the news of the murder of Jill Dando? I knew and admired her, and she did a vast amount to combat crime—that is unquestionable. It is an horrific murder and a terrible loss.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I associate myself and the Government with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition. Jill Dando was known to virtually everyone in this country, if not personally. She was at the height of her powers. She had done a huge amount, personally, in the fight against crime, not least by her role in "Crimewatch UK", which makes her death all the more poignant. I am sure that I speak for the whole House when I say that our deepest sympathy goes to her loved ones, her family and her friends at the time of this terrible, tragic and appalling loss.