HC Deb 01 May 1969 vol 782 cc1603-4
27. Dr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to provide for the erasure from police records of the names of children who appeared before the courts only once while minors.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

Clause 4 of the Children and Young Persons Bill, at present before the House, proposes that children under 14 should not be prosecuted save for homicide. If this provision becomes law, there will be no central criminal record of offences committed by children under 14. My right hon. Friend has no plans for legislation in this connection in regard to children over 14.

Dr. Gray

Will my hon. Friend look again at the question of young people over 14? Does not he think it is desirable, when such young people have offended only once and have paid for their misdemeanour or crime, that all records of it should be removed, so that it is not brought up in the course of their adult lives?

Mr. Morgan

These are confidential records, and it would be proper for my hon. Friend to remember that 80 per cent. of all finger-print identifications concern young people under 20. I am sure that my hon. Friend does not intend that records of a serious crime committed just before a child reaches the age of majority should be destroyed as soon as he reaches that age.

Mr. Paget

Will my hon. Friend seriously consider this because of the question of American passports and such things? Now that we are not bringing children under 14 before the courts, could not those who were prosecuted before the Act came into force have their records cleared?

Mr. Morgan

That is a rather different question, but I am prepared to look into it.

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