§ Ms. Richardson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many obscene telephone calls were reported in the last year for which figures are available; how many gave rise to(a) a charge, (b) a prosecution and (c) a conviction; what plans he has to review the present maximum penalty for this offence; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Patten
The figures requested are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Information collected centrally does not distinguish making an obscene telephone call from other offences under the Telecommunications Act 1984. The maximum penalty for this offence will be increased from a fine of £400 to a fine of £1,000 by fine upratings in the Criminal Justice Bill.