HC Deb 24 November 1960 vol 630 cc1308-9
39. Mr. Leavey

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many successful prosecutions have been initiated by the Metropolitan Police during the last year or similar convenient period for offences in connection with motor cars and motor cycles having inadequate silencers.

Mr. Renton

In the first 10 months of this year 732 persons were convicted in the Metropolitan Police District for offences against the regulations relating to the fitting and maintenance of silencers and the avoidance of excessive noise.

Mr. Leavey

I am much obliged to my hon. and learned Friend. Notwithstanding these substantial figures, may I ask whether he is satisfied that sufficient use is being made of existing legislation, in view of the fact that a good deal of this noise is deliberately caused? Is my hon and learned Friend aware, for example, that to many owners of high-powered motor cycles and sports cars a noisy exhaust almost amounts to a mating call? Although my hon. and learned Friend is clearly not responsible for mating, does not he feel that some further action might be taken to try to suppress some of this quite unnecessary clatter?

Mr. Renton

I am sure that these are not the only or the necessary kinds of mating call, but if my hon. Friend has evidence of that kind of noise being caused for an unlawful purpose and will give particulars to the prosecuting authorities concerned, I am sure that they will be glad to make goad use of the information.

Mr. Snow

While the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Leavey) made a very good joke, does not the Under-Secretary of State agree that it is a pity that he made rather a flippant answer? In point of fact, the manufacturers themselves advertise and supply silencers which are deliberately made defective to make more noise.

Mr. Renton

I am not aware that that is so. The essence of the matter is that the Commissioner of Police and other prosecuting authorities in this country are doing their best to make full use of the regulations and to convict people who offend against them. There is a very great difficulty, in that no effective instrument has yet been found which isolates the noise of a particularly offensive vehicle from the surrounding background noises. When a testing instrument has been found which achieves that purpose the task of the prosecution will be very greatly eased.