HC Deb 04 April 1963 vol 675 cc606-7
8. Mr. Fitch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women have been sent to prison under the Street Offences Act, since the Act came into operation; and if he will make a statement on the working of the Act.

Mr. Brooke

The number of women sentenced to imprisonment for offences under the Street Offences Act from 16th August, 1959, the date on which the Act came into operation, to 30th September, 1962, is 1,185. In addition, 1,129 women were committed to prison in default of payment of fines.

The main purpose of the Act was to deal with loitering or soliciting by prostitutes in public places. It has been successful.

Mr. Fitch

Would not the Home Secretary agree that since the Act came into operation there has been a considerable increase in the growth of undesirable clubs—places of organised vice and crime—and would he not agree that while the Act may partially have got rid of unorganised vice in the streets, it has encouraged organised vice in the clubs? What does he propose to do about it?

Mr. Brooke

I know that the hon. Member was opposed to the Measure when it was going through the House. I must say, however, that it appears to me that the Act has accomplished its main purpose very effectively. There are, of course, other evils and vices, not necessarily arising from this legislation. I certainly am not blind to them, but I do not think that at the moment a case for further legislation is made out.