§ Dr. Glyn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he plans to seek further powers to enable the police to deal with large-scale party-style events held on private property;
(2) if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the Thames Valley on the events at White Waltham industrial estate on Saturday 24 June, and on the outcome of police inquiries into these events.
(3) if he will take steps to ensure that police and local authorities are aware in advance of the planned location of the large-scale party-style events planned for July.
§ Mr. Hurd
I have just received from the Chief Constable of Thames Valley a report on the incident at White Waltham on 24 June and I will consider the need for any further action in the light of his assessment of events. The police have been aware of the growth of these parties and, insofar as there may be a breach of the law or a risk to public safety, have taken action to prevent them where possible. I understand that the Metropolitan Police have been able to prevent in advance or shut down some 75 such parties so far this year.
In addition to continuing police action, those involved in these events should be aware that they may be in breach of existing public entertainment law. The controls exist to ensure that the local authority, police and fire services are given advance notice of events, that there are proper control and safety arrangements, and to minimise nuisance to the local community. It is already an offence to provide public entertainment involving music and dancing without a licence. The maximum penalty in Greater London is a fine of up to £2,000 plus imprisonment of up to three months. Outside Greater London, the fine is the same but imprisonment is not available.
There are also controls over nuisance caused by noise, for which the maximum penalty is a fine of up to £2,000.
We are satisfied that the existing law on the misuse of drugs is strong and adequate. At large gatherings of young 520W 18, (ii) 19 to 21, (iii) 22 to 24, (iv) 25 to 30 and (v) 30 years and over who were (aa) charged and (bb) convicted of failure to wear a seat belt in 1987 and 1988.
§ Mr. John Patten
The latest available information is shown in the table. Information on the age of persons proceeded against for summary offences is not generally collected for those aged 21 and over. Since 1 October 1986, the police have been able to issue fixed penalty notices for seat belt offences as an alternative to prosecution. Further information is given in Home Office statistical bulletin issue 32/88, table 13 of which suggests that in 1987 there was a large rise in the enforcement of this legislation. Figures for 1988 will be published in the autumn.
people there is always the risk of drugs being used or supplied. The police attach high priority to drugs enforcement and action will be taken where necessary.
Those who hire out large premises would be well advised to exercise caution to establish the true purpose of the activity and inform the police if they are suspicious. Regular use of premises for purposes for which planning permission had not been obtained may result in enforcement action.
There is in being a comprehensive set of controls, backed up by offences, and penalties for those who commit them, to keep events within proper grounds.
I am considering whether there are any gaps in the law, but it is clear that the main need is for citizens who have advance knowledge of any party at which the law may be broken to give timely information to the police so that the law can be enforced.