HC Deb 20 July 1998 vol 316 cc380-1W
Mr. Linton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce further regulations to control the display of pornographic magazine covers and video cases in shops accessible to children. [50754]

Mr. Michael

Current legislation governing the display of pornographic magazines includes the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981, which makes it an offence to display any indecent matter which is exposed to view in a public place or where it can be seen from a public place. It is the responsibility of the police to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to launch a criminal investigation, and that of the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to prosecute those alleged to be responsible for the publication.

Most newsagents also abide by a voluntary code of practice, refusing to sell "adult" magazines to persons under the age of 18 and placing pornographic magazines on the top shelf and out of reach of children.

With respect to videos, before the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gives full certification to a video work, the sleeve must be seen and approved by the Video Packaging Review Committee. This Committee is chaired by a representative of the BBFC and comprises members of the British Video Association and the Video Standards Council. The sleeves seen by the Committee account for over 90 per cent. of all video works on the market.

While the issue of indecent displays is kept under constant review, there are currently no plans to introduce further regulations in this area.