HL Deb 28 January 1986 vol 470 cc541-2

2.51 p.m.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in implementing Section 51 of the Transport Act 1982 regarding Part III (fixed penalties) of that Act.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Glenarthur)

My Lords, as my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced in November, it is our intention to implement Part III of the Act on 1st October 1986. Guidance to chief officers of police about its operation has been issued in Home Office circulars, with the aim, so far as possible, of working towards uniformity.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, does the Minister appreciate how much I recognise what he has just said, that progress apparently has been made? Does he recall that I have raised this matter on previous occasions contending that it is the Secretary of State who has to give advice to chief officers? In correspondence with the Ministers at the Home Office, I have been told that they were awaiting comments from the traffic committee of the association of chief officers. Has the noble Lord also seen the 1984 booklet on motoring offences, which shows no improvement at all? Can I have the Minister's assurance that the guidance notes which are to be issued will ensure that the shocking disparities between one area and another will be removed in future?

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, I am aware of the noble Lord's interest in this point. I can say that, while the guidance given should assist uniformity of application, the fixed penalty is one of several procedures available to the police to deal with relevant breaches of the law, and the decision as to which course of action to take in particular circumstances is a matter for the chief officer of police. Of course, discussions continue in various fora about this, but I note the noble Lord's concern.

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