Clause 2 - Penalty notices

Part of Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 6th February 2001.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 6:30 pm, 6th February 2001

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for mentioning that. As he may recall, on Second Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Malins), who is knowledgeable about such matters, referred to the difficulties involved in differentiation and the different disposals that might result. Will the Minister explain his decision and why he has ignored, or not taken on board, the views of such bodies?

The Minister might ask why we are suggesting 16, not 14. For the proposals in the Bill that relate to child curfew orders, he has chosen 16 as the cut-off point. The age of 16 is generally recognised as the end of practical childhood, especially in many social work and housing contexts. For various social reasons, 16 has a certain resonance as an age that defines the gap between a child and an adult, although 18 is the age of majority. I do not believe that our suggestion would present a particular problem, and making 16 the starting point for the orders would avoid difficulties.