§ Mr. Coleman
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to impose heavier penalties on those who daub political slogans on the property of private householders, local authorities and other public bodies, and to enable those whose property is affected to recover the cost of cleaning from the offenders.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
If damage is caused to property, the offender may be liable to prosecution under Section 14 of the Criminal Justice Administration Act, 1914, which empowers courts to order reasonable compensation to be paid to the party aggrieved. Defacing buildings may also be an offence under local authority byelaws. The Criminal Justice Bill now before Parliament increases from £5 to £20 both the maximum fine for malicious damage where the amount of damage is £5 or less and the maximum fine which may be prescribed for offences against byelaws made by local authorities.
The question of reparation by offenders is being considered by the Advisory Council on the Penal System, but it is open to persons who are put to expense to take proceedings in the civil courts against those responsible.