HC Deb 12 January 1995 vol 252 cc270-1
8. Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Mr. Howard

We have received about 2,000 letters from hon. Members, most of them covering representations from constituents, and about 2,500 letters from members of the public.

Mr. Yeo

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Police Federation have warmly welcomed many provisions in the Act, including those to widen the DNA base and change the so-called rule of silence? Does he agree that politicians who opposed the measures in the House have proved that they are not only totally soft on crime but that, despite all the trendy sound bites, the modern Labour party still much prefers to protect the criminal rather than to prevent crime?

Mr. Howard

I agree with my hon. Friend. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 will be seen as a landmark in criminal justice legislation. It will mark a great advance, first, in helping the police to prevent crime, to bring criminals to justice and to get them convicted before the courts, and secondly, in providing the courts with the power to pass appropriate sentences.

If Labour Members believe that they have fooled a single citizen in this country by abstaining on Second Reading of the Bill but opposing the most important measures in Standing Committee and in the other place, they are grossly deluding themselves.

Mr. Cohen

When will the Home Secretary get the police to use the Act against people who demonstrate against cruelty to animals?

Mr. Howard

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I do not get the police to use the provisions of the Act against anybody. The police decide what use they make of the powers given to them under the legislation and I have every confidence that they will use their discretion wisely.

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