HC Deb 15 July 1981 vol 8 c1173
39. Mr. Pollock

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions have been brought so far in 1981 involving charges of vandalism.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

When the Scottish Office computer is functioning again, I shall be in a position to give these figures; but I can say that section 78 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 is being used quite extensively.

Mr. Pollock

In spite of the rather thin information in that reply, does my hon. and learned Friend agree that it is nevertheless a useful criminal offence in the hands of the courts and, perhaps more particularly, in the hands of the police in their battle against criminal hooliganism?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I certainly confirm that. Between the beginning of April and the end of May this year, 18 cases of vandalism were subject to compensation orders, in which the compensation ranged from £5 to £400.

Mr. Peter Fraser

Despite the fact that when the Government introduced that crime it was heralded by the Opposition as being merely a cosmetic matter and of little value, has my hon. and learned Friend read an editorial in the Scottich Legal Action Group's magazine pointing out that the introduction of this crime in Scotland has made it clearer to petty hooligans and vandals precisely what they are doing?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I have seen that report. I trust that the Opposition will now repent and understand that it is an important and useful category of crime.