Lords amendment: No. 90, after the words last inserted, insert new clause H:
H.—(l) Any person who without lawful authority is present on the premises to which this section applies and causes or permits nuisance or disturbance to the annoyance of persons who lawfully use those premises (whether or not any such persons are present at the time) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50.
(2) This section applies to premises, including playgrounds, playing fields and other premises for outdoor recreation—
- (a) of a school maintained by a local education authority; or
- (b) of a further education establishment provided by such an authority.
- (a) a police constable; or
- (b) subject to subsection (5) below, a person whom a local education authority have authorised to exercise the power conferred by this subsection,
(4) The power conferred by subsection (3) above may also be exercised, in relation to premises of an aided or special agreement school, by a person whom the school governors have authorised to exercise it.
(5) A local education authority may not authorise a person to exercise the power conferred by subsection (3) above in relation to premises of a voluntary school without first obtaining the consent of the school governors.
(6) Except as provided by subsection (7) below, no proceedings under this section shall be brought by any person other than—
- (a) a police constable; or
- (b) subject to subsection (8) below, a local education authority.
(8) A local education authority may not bring proceedings under this section for an offence committed on premises of a voluntary school without first obtaining the consent of the school governors.
(10) This section shall come into force on the expiry of the period of two months beginning with the date on which this Act is passed."12.30 pm
§ Mr. Raison
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
This amendment, moved on Third Reading in the other place by Baroness David, represents the outcome of considerable debate in Committee and on Report about the best methods of dealing with the recognised problem of nuisance and disturbance that may be created on school premises by the anti-social behaviour of people not authorised to be there. This may take several forms. In rural areas, the problem may be one of people exercising horses and dogs on school playing fields which results in the digging up of turf. In urban areas, trouble is more likely to be caused by groups of youths making a noise and disturbing evening classes. Local authorities are increasingly anxious to promote the use of school facilities by the wider community so far as this is possible without detracting from the first claim on the facilities by the schools themselves.
Subsection (1) makes it an offence punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding £50 for a person who is present without lawful authority on educational premises covered by the section to cause or permit nuisance or disturbance to the annoyance of persons lawfully using the premises. Subsection (2) defines the premises covered by the section and subsection (3) provides power of removal from the premises exercisable by a police constable or a person authorised by the local education authority, or, in the case of an aided or special agreement school, by the school governors.
The clause is intended to deal with only relatively minor problems. For more serious offences, the general criminal law will be available. The Government were initially hesitant to take on board a provision dealing with imprecise concepts such as nuisance and disturbance, but we recognise that there is a problem for local authorities. We see the creation of this relatively minor offence as a means of giving local authorities the power to deal with the problem. The police and representatives of voluntary schools are also content.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Lords amendment No. 91 agreed to.