§ 203 After Clause 143, insert the following new clause:
§ "Enforcement of Video Recordings Act 1984.
§ 16A.—(1) The functions of a local weights and measures authority include the enforcement in their area of this Act.
- section 27 (power to make test purchases);
- section 28 (power to enter premises and inspect and seize goods and documents),
- section 29 (obstruction of authorised officers), and
- section 33 (compensation for loss, amp;c. of goods seized under section 28).
§ (3) Nothing in this section shall be taken as authorising a local weights and measures authority in Scotland to initiate proceedings for an offence.
§ (4) Subsection (1) above does not apply in relation to the enforcement of this Act in Northern Ireland, but the functions of the Department of Economic Development include the enforcement of this Act in Northern Ireland.
§ For that purpose the provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 specified in subsection (2) apply as if for the references to a local weights and measures authority and any officer of such an authority there were substituted references to that Department and any of its officers.
§ (5) Any enactment which authorises the disclosure of information for the purpose of facilitating the enforcement of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 shall apply as if the 1675 provisions of this Act were contained in that Act and as if the functions of any person in relation to the enforcement of this Act were functions under that Act.".'.
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 203. Perhaps I may speak at the same time to Amendment No. 430.
The purpose of these amendments is to enable trading standards officers to enforce the Video Recordings Act 1984. Your Lordships will recall that the Video Recordings Act introduced a system of classification for videos on similar lines to that which exists for cinema films. In each case the classification is undertaken by the British Board of Film Classification. The Act requires all videos to be classified and properly labelled. It makes it an offence to sell an unclassified video or to sell a video in breach of its classification; for example, to sell to a person under the age of 18 a video which has been classified as suitable for viewing only by people over the age of 18.
In order to maintain the effectiveness of the Act in years to come, we must ensure that it is properly enforced. The police enforce the Act but there is a limit to the amount of time we can expect them to spend on the basic regulatory function of visiting retail premises and checking that the Act has been complied with. The nature of this work is comparable to other enforcement tasks which fall to trading standards officers who are employed by local weights and measures authorities.
Amendment No. 203 gives trading standards officers the necessary powers to enter premises and seize evidence by applying the powers which they already possess under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. The new arrangements will extend to weights and measures authorities in Scotland. In Northern Ireland the corresponding functions are carried by the Department of Economic Development. I commend the amendment to the House.
§ Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 203.—(Earl Ferrers.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.