HC Deb 30 July 1984 vol 65 c15
36. Mr. Marlow

asked the Attorney-General when he last instigated proceedings under the law on riotous assembly.

The Attorney-General

Riot is not an offence which has to be reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but chief officers of police may refer cases to him if they need advice or assistance. The most recent occasion on which he has brought proceedings for riot was in September 1981. The charges arose out of an incident in south London, which also gave rise to even more serious charges of a reportable nature, one being murder. Charges of riot have been brought more recently by other prosecuting authorities.

Mr. Marlow

I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend is aware that the overwhelming majority of our constituents believe that the law is pitifully inadequate in dealing with Scargill's intimidatory levies, who seem to be not only laughing at the law but stamping all over its grave. Will my right hon. and learned Friend give a commitment to the House that the Government will rapidly bring forward measures to ensure that perpetrators of mob violence of that sort can be adequately, rapidly, justly and firmly dealt with?

The Attorney-General

With one minor evidential exception about riots, the criminal law is adequate. It is an entirely different matter when one comes to finding the evidence which will justify proceedings.

Mr. Stokes

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May we have an extra five minutes on law and order and five minutes less on overseas development?

Mr. Speaker