HC Deb 26 October 1989 vol 158 cc619-20W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends undertaking an evaluation of the working of section 39 of the Public Order Act 1986; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd

Section 39 of the Public Order Act 1986 was introduced into the Public Order Bill as it was going through Parliament in response to the depredations suffered by landowners by members of the so-called peace convoy during the summer of 1986. The section provides the police with a power to direct trespassers to leave land in certain circumstances. Only if the trespassers knowingly fail to obey such a direction do they commit a criminal offence.

Section 39 put in place entirely new powers for the police and introduced an accompanying criminal sanction. It has been in force for about two and a half years. It has been the subject of representations by a number of people and organisations. In view of the time the section has been operative and because of the interest it has aroused. I propose to institute an evaluation of how the section is working in order to obtain a clearer picture of the consistency and effectiveness of its application. Views on the section may be directed in writing to F8 Division, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SWIEI 9AT, to arrive by 31 December 1989.