HL Deb 17 December 1980 vol 415 cc1194-6WA
Lord McCluskey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What timetable they have in mind for bringing into force the different provisions of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980; and what are the likely dates for the commencement of those parts of the Act which it is proposed to bring into force within the next six months.

The Earl of Mansfield

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland proposes to make a first commencement order bringing the majority of the Act's provisions into effect on 1st February 1981. These will include provisions which will confer on the police powers to require a suspect or a potential witness to give his name and address and to search people who they suspect are carrying offensive weapons; provisions designed to curb football hooliganism by placing a ban on the carriage and consumption of alcohol at certain sporting events and on hired coaches travelling to and from such events; a provision which introduces a specific offence of vandalism; and a provision, inserted into the Act on a free vote, which decriminalises homosexual behaviour in private between consenting adults over the age of 21.

The order will also bring into force a number of other provisions which effect improvements in procedures in the criminal courts, place further restrictions on the use of imprisonment, and remedy deficiencies in fines endorsement procedures. The full list of sections to be implemented on 1st February is as follows: 1, 4, 7–9, 11, 14, 15, 17–32, 37–44, 46–50, 52–57 and 68–84. The remaining provisions of the Act require physical and other preparation before they can be brought into operation, and the timing of their implementation will depend on the speed with which the necessary preparations can be made. These include the police power to detain suspects for questioning at a police station; the provision regarding judicial examination; the reform of solemn and summary appeals procedures; the new arrangements for the detention of young offenders; and the introduction of a system of compensation by the offender to the victim of his crime. I hope, however, that it may prove possible for all but a few of these provisons to be brought into effect before the end of the summer of 1981. Further announcements about the commencement dates for these provisions will be made in due course.

House adjourned at twenty-seven minutes past nine o'clock.