Those of us who were trying about three years ago to create the right for an arrested person to tell someone that he had been arrested were greeted with predictions of doom about what would happen if such a proposal were passed and we were advised to wait for the Royal Commission on criminal procedure to report. I shall first respond to the sincere speech by the hon.
On the contrary, we have made significant progress in increasing the strength of the police service. I hope that the offence will be abolished, as the Select Committee recommends. The Commission has had evidence put to it on the subject, but it is not a matter on which it can properly report. does, or ought to do. They do an extraordinarily difficult job in a large community. That objection in principle is coupled with the fact that there is considerable opportunity for abuse.
Member might say that the provisions would apply only in the case of a suspected person.
There has been no satisfactory answer to the question " If this offence is so important, how comes it that it is used hardly at all in some parts of the country, including some of the big cities outside London which have conditions similar to those in inner London?". We are in the presence of a rapidly rising tide of crime.
It is the reverse of a deterrent. The rationale behind criminalising knife possession is that in order to increase the safety of the community, police powers need to be increased in order to maintain law and order on in public places. I wish to repeat one sentence that I stated earlier, because it is important.
As a former magistrate, I find myself in strong agreement with the views expressed by three members of the inner London bench, It was not our intention that on the criminal law, which is so important, we should divide in this way. Possession or use of a laser pointer in a public place is prohibited by s11FA of the Summary Offences Act 1988.
I shall explain why. The making of a prohibition order and the granting of authorisation have been discussed in the has been discussed in Commissioner of Police v Rintoul:  There is a trend for specific laws to be passed for specific events, such as the 2000 Olympics, World Youth Day, APEC Meeting. It is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
of the Government's will. 1784
drop in the use of " sus " by the police in that district. The previous Labour Government waited for Law Commission reports.
What does loiter with intent expression mean?
and learned Friend answer the Home Secretary's comment about the inadequacies in the law that would exist if we abolished " sus "? However, I cannot regard it as a matter of semantics to say that I cannot approve the report, because approving the report would, however, one looks at it, mean immediate legislation without taking the other factors into account. I hope that the House will respect my position. The proceedings are more rapid in a magistrates' court. If I had thought that even in the short term we were making terrorism more possible, I would have weighed my words heavily. The Select Committee says that that is merely a technical difficulty.
(b) to rebut any evidence (including evidence as to general character) given by or on behalf of the defendant. It offends against the important principles of justice in two ways. Evidence is tested to a lesser extent in a magistrates' court, and it is The Committee, after reviewing all the evidence, concluded that it also supported repeal of the offence. The reply that I received stated: The hon. Is it not a fact that when a man tries a car door the prosecution is uncertain whether he is attempting to take a conveyance without authority or to steal from the car? The reason why it is held in such disrepute is that many people rightly regard it as unfair and unjust. I agree that, if " sus " is scrapped, it will be of great symbolic importance but repeal in itself will not solve the continuing problem of the bad relationship in many of our cities between black people and the police. I am in some difficulty, because at this stage of the debate most of the best parts of the Home Affairs Committee report have been quoted. Intention to commit the breaking offence is generally required, in order to rebut the defence of lawful excuse.
However, that liaison must not be a one-way street. Action on the report could be an important symbol They are objections directed to the way in which the offence is brought, the way in which the prosecution is brought, and what has to be proved. It may be that in these and possible other instances, if " sus " were repealed, the ambit of the criminal law would in other respects need to be enlarged. It is not my intention to go over the report again except to say that it must be clear that, after all these years and after all the controversy that has surrounded the 1824 Act and particularly section 4, the time has come for the charge to be removed from the criminal law. But we must not offend the proper principles of the law in doing so. Gentleman would know before he intervened in the debate, are the jurisprudential objections to which other speakers have alluded. This law is objectionable to large sections of the community and it should not remain on the statute book for one day longer than is necessary. It states: It is because the Metropolitan Police, rightly or wrongly, operate under the directive arising from impossible crime that they frequently rely on " sus " instead of attempted theft. report, the Government accept in principle the need for some change in the law. I do not believe that we need fear that. Sus " is merely the focal point for the anger and frustration felt by many black groups and individuals. I am afraid that there will be this danger unless quickly—in my view, simultaneously—we replace " sus " with a reform of attempted theft to deal with the problem of street crime. Gentleman's view? It punishes behaviour that falls short of any substantive or attempted crime.
The Committee's general line of argument deserves most serious consideration. I am also delighted by the sympathetic noises from the Government Benches. The Black People's Organisation Campaign Against Sus, to give it its full title, was not asking for special treatment for its members.
Friend said in deploying the Government's case at the outset, the Law Commision makes recommendations on that specific practical point. My conclusion is that whatever attempt is made to replace " sus " will give rise to the same objections of principle that now damn it. The position is made worse because it has only to be the opinion of two police officers that he has formed a criminal intent. I think that that will be fair to everyone. People in one part of the country do not behave differently from those in another part, and I fail to understand how most communities—[Interruption.] That this House welcomes the important contribution made by the Report of the Home Affairs Committee relating to section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824, accepts the need for a change in the law, and looks forward to the imminent publication of the Law Commission's Report on Attempt and to the public response to these reports, as providing the basis for an early decision as to the best way of reforming the law while ensuring adequate protection for the public.
I refer to paragraph 28 of the report where, in the heavy print of a recommendation, it is stated that, " fortified by " the recommendations, witnesses, who are inevitably police officers. May I finish the point? The number of " sus " offences has not gone above 3,761 in any year, and 60 per cent. That is what we are saying.
There is the handbag or the pocket in which there proves to be nothing. I was pleased and relieved that my right hon. These feelings extend to parents, church leaders and other leaders of the coloured community. Gentleman will allow me to continue. I have moved that the House notes the report with approval. and I may be many things, but I am not naive. It is all very well for the right hon.
We need reform, and we need repeal. It is clear that, in their expert opinion, they We on the Liberal Bench recognise that the law on attempted theft has got into an unholy mess. Of course, I am particularly happy that they have chosen the report from the Select Committee on Home Affairs. It is wrong that the House should tonight or at any time contemplate the immediate repeal of the " sus " law without first contemplating another law to replace it.
The expression of anxiety has not simply been caused by campaigns such as " Scrap Sus ". By stating these things in the way that it has in the report, the Committee has made it that much easier to focus on the real issues and to consider the way ahead.
Section 2 of that Act applies. Gentleman that even if it is only in the minds of those concerned, it is like a running sore in the minds of the black community. One of the suggestions in that line of argument is that some of the local Acts should be used. It does not. Everything you need to know about Loitering with intent to commit an indictable offence according to VIC law. It suggests that there is too large a discretion available to a prosecuting authority whether to bring a charge of " sus ". Let us consider two specific examples.
I was not convinced of the need for a new offence but, of course, the Law Commission report had to be taken into account.
We must also have time to consider the Law Commission's report. I cannot understand why hon. Member the details later—conclusively to show that the black minority groups are far more seriously disadvantaged by these laws than are white groups. The Home Secretary said that while he agrees that the law should be changed, as he feels it is wrong, if it is changed it will leave gaps, and that it is the gaps that cause him concern.
charge. For example, mass picketing, where the workers on strike stare at men going in – possible intimidation that discourages people from going to work.
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