HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc932-3
21. Sir W. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he proposes to take to prevent hooligans ruining the trade of seaside resorts at Bank Holidays and other holiday periods; what has been achieved by the Malicious Damage Act, 1964; and how many new detention centres under that Act have been opened.

Miss Bacon

The maintenance of public order is the responsibility of the chief officer of police of the area.

In 1965, 155 people convicted of the summary offence of malicious damage were each fined more than £20, which before the Malicious Damage Act, 1964, was the maximum fine for this offence

There are in all 18 detention centres; of these three have been brought into use since early 1964.

Sir W. Teeling

I am sure that the right hon. Lady will remember that debate, in which she took part. Many times during the debate we discussed the Penal Reform Commission. We were not going to be able to do anything until it reported. Can the right hon. Lady say whether any steps are to be taken with regard to future possibilities for dealing with the hooligan business, which we were told must not be gone into until we had a report from the Royal Commission?

Miss Bacon

I do not remember the debate precisely in those terms, but we are doing everything that we can. I think that the police have done a very good job of work at the seaside resorts during the last year or so in dealing with this problem. The hon. Gentleman knows that the Malicious Damage Act did not set up detention centres, but reference was made during the discussions on that Act to the fact that we wanted more of them. Three have been opened since the beginning of 1964, and we are pressing ahead with more because we know that there is such a shortage.

Mr. Carlisle

Whilst congratulating the right hon. Lady on the fact that we have succeeded in opening three more detention centres, may I ask whether she would agree that detention centres are probably the most successful part of our penal institutions, and that there is still a need for more of them, particularly in the North-West?

Miss Bacon

I realise that magistrates would like to have more detention centres, because they find difficulty in sending to such centres all the young people whom they would wish to send there, and we are pressing ahead with this. This is not something which can be done within a short space of time. The centres have to be planned carefully, and they have to be built, but the hon. Gentleman can be assured that we are doing everything that we can to help.