§ Mr. Bishop
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will detail in the OFFICIAL REPORT the steps taken since 1964 to increase the powers of the courts to deal with crime and violence, including variations in punishment.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
The Criminal Justice Act, 1967 made a number of improvements in the administration of the criminal law, including provision for majority verdicts by juries; gave the courts power to pass suspended sentences of imprisonment, and extended sentences on persistent offenders; and increased the maxima of many monetary penalties imposed by magistrates' courts. The Theft Act, 1968 restated and modernised the law of theft and related offences, and increased some maximum penalties. New legislation now consolidated in the Firearms Act, 1968 created new offences, with heavy penalties, of unlawful carriage of firearms; increased the maximum penalties for many existing firearms offences; and made punishable the unlawful acquisition or possession of a shot gun.