HC Deb 22 June 1967 vol 748 cc1931-2
16. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the number of attacks in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham on public service vehicle employees, particularly on late shifts; and if he will introduce legislation to increase penalties on those who threaten public services.

Mr. Taverne

The Criminal Justice Bill proposes increases in the maximum penalties for many of the relevant offences.

Mr. Carter-Jones

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for drawing that to my notice. The unions and the employers are very concerned that public services are being threatened by a very small number of thugs. Is it not wrong that the public should suffer because a few people want to exhibit themselves freely? Will he not take great care to bring to the notice of magistrates the fact that greater sentences are now available?

Mr. Taverne

Two questions are involved here. The first concerns maximum penalties, and I remind my hon. Friend that the Criminal Justice Bill is not yet law. The second question concerns police measures, which may help in certain areas. In some of the areas referred to in my hon. Friend's Question, I understand that the institution of police patrols has had a salutary effect.

Sir R. Cary

Could not the hon. and learned Gentleman alert local watch committees about these serious problems? I cannot believe that these watch committees, in conjunction with the police, cannot afford better protection to bus conductors. It is a miserable experience for a conductor who is attacked. He may have only one or two public-spirited passengers to call upon for help.

Mr. Taverne

On the whole, this is a matter for chief constables, who are aware of the problem. In areas where it has been brought to our notice some action has been taken.