§ Mr. Michael
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the decision of the magistrates court in Leeds to impose a fine on Leeds city council after a child in its care committed a burglary on(a) crime prevention and reduction and (b) the resources available for diverting young people from criminal activity.
§ Mr. Jack
It would not be appropriate to comment on, or assess the impact of, a decision of the courts in an individual case. Nevertheless, we intend to monitor carefully the effect of the new powers for courts introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1991 which, inter alia, allow them to make local authorities liable to pay fines and compensation when children in their care commit offences. The purpose of these new provisions, which parallel those which apply to parents, is to ensure that local authorities do all in their power to ensure that children in their care do not commit offences. Local authorities are under a separate duty under the Children Act 1989 to encourage children in their areas not to commit criminal offences.