HC Deb 21 February 1992 vol 204 cc293-4W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to the representations made to him by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill concerning the publication and sale of manuals on sale at Soldier of Fortune shops in Liverpool; what steps he is taking to ban their publication; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

I understand that the hon. Member wrote to my right hon. Friend on 18 February about the sale of a book entitled "Getaway" which is alleged to contain information on illegal and dangerous ways of driving.

Ministers do not have the power to ban or censor books or other publications. However, it is an offence to publish a work which is obscene, which incites its readers to crime, or which is otherwise a breach of the criminal law. It is for the police to investigate any allegation of an offence and for the courts to decide whether an offence has been committed in any particular case; Ministers cannot intervene in either of these processes. I understand that in this particular case the owners of the shops concerned have decided to withdraw the book from sale.