HC Deb 09 December 1981 vol 14 c860
38. Mr. Ancram

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions for offences related to solvent abuse have been initiated by his Department in the last six months.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

As solvent abuse itself is not illegal, no separate register is kept of prosecutions arising out of this social evil.

Mr. Ancram

Does my hon. and learned Friend accept that there may be instances in which another crime related to solvent abuse might arise and where prosecution might be considered? In the light of the consultative document issued by the Scottish Home and Health Department, will my hon. and learned Friend assure the House that he will consult the Minister responsible for health in Scotland before such prosecutions are taken?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The basis upon which a prosecution is taken when a crime is committed, regardless of what the stimulus to it might be, is whether that prosecution is justified. I am in constant consultation with my colleagues about this abuse. The whole House shares the concern about it.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

In view of the low-key approach to this big problem, is there not some justification for requiring the police to investigate any offences committed by someone who is under the influence of solvents? After all, the consumption of alcohol alone is not an offence. Why should it be difficult to obtain the information?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern. Alcohol consumption is not registered—perhaps fortunately. In all cases in which solvent abbuse is part of a complaint, the police do a marvellous educational job in advising parents, local authorities and teachers of the appalling dangers, which a recent case demonstrated.

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