§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what new measures he will take to prevent known football hooligans travelling overseas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael
Under the Football Spectators Act 1989, the courts may impose a restriction order on anybody who is convicted of a football-related offence in Great Britain or in certain countries overseas, including France. A restriction order means that the offender is required to report to a police station on the day of a football match abroad involving a team from England or Wales. My right hon. Friend has encouraged the use of restriction orders and their number has increased from 9 at the beginning of the year to 71 now.
This week the House has agreed to include measures in the Crime and Disorder Bill [Lords], increasing the maximum penalty which can be imposed by the courts for breaches of a restriction order under the Football Spectators Act 1989 from one month's imprisonment to six. The police will also have a power of arrest without warrant where a person subject to a restriction order has committed the offence of failing to report to a police station on the day of an international football match overseas, or is about to commit that offence, or where the police have reasonable grounds for believing that he is about to commit it.
We will give urgent consideration to what other steps may be required for the future.