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Baroness Walmsley: I am most grateful to the Minister for spelling the matter out so clearly, and for giving a clear reassurance from the Dispatch Box that custodial sentences will not be used for young people. I am sure that the children's organisations will be as reassured as I am. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 162 not moved.]

Clause 32 agreed to.

Clauses 33 and 34 agreed to.

Clause 35 [Authorisations by British Transport Police]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 163:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 36 [Interpretation]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 164:

    Page 29, line 33, leave out from second "council" to end of line 34.

The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 164 and 165 are quite important. Amendment No. 164 would ensure that the police would consult both county and district councils, where both exist, in relation to consideration of dispersal orders. In two-tier local government areas, county councils deliver many key services such as youth offending teams, youth work, social services, education and highways. They are therefore heavily involved in the consequences of the orders, and of course in doing their best to prevent the need for those orders. It therefore seems entirely reasonable that, where two-tier government exists, county councils should be consulted. I hope that the Government will consider that very seriously.

One could argue that the Bill had been drafted in anticipation of our having regional government and unitary authorities across the country. However, there will be a considerable interregnum before that unhappy situation comes about. In the meantime, the county councils are entitled to be consulted as major providers of services in relation to the young people concerned.

Amendment No. 165 would extend the power to apply for an anti-social behaviour order to county councils. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created anti-social behaviour orders. In two-tier local government areas, the order then could be applied for only by district councils or the police service. Subsequent legislation has extended the power to the transport police and registered social landlords. We think it would be reasonable to extend the power to county councils in view of the relationship between county and district councils, and in view of the fact that county councils are heavily committed to service

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provision to try to prevent the problems and are, in many instances, considerable landlords, although they are not housing authorities and certainly not social housing landlords. It may be superseded by other structural legislation for local government, but we must deal with the structure as it is. Where there is two-tier government, the councils are entitled to have a voice and to act pari passu with district councils. I beg to move.

Baroness Walmsley: I support the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, but I have nothing to add to his eloquent remarks.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I agree with the noble Lord that they are important amendments and their effect has been expertly described. Amendment No. 164 requires the police to consult both the county and district councils before granting authorisation for the use of dispersal powers. Amendment No. 165 seeks simply—I say "simply" in parenthesis—to add county councils to the list of relevant authorities which can apply for an anti-social behaviour order.

The Government recognise that county councils have an important role to play in tackling anti-social behaviour and that a number of counties are keen to be pro-active in that area. The amendments would, on the face of it, certainly assist county councils in fulfilling their role. However, we wish to be satisfied that the process involved would not be overly bureaucratic—I have expressed that concern before—or land local authorities and the police service with disproportionate and undue financial burdens. Cost is an important consideration.

Nevertheless, I am happy to give the propositions further thought and we will return to them at a later stage. We accept the points made by the noble Lord and the noble Baroness and wish to give them further consideration because they are important.

I am struck slightly by the irony that the noble Baroness can support the extension of ASBOs to county councils, but has argued against the clause in its entirety. I am sure that she can live with that—

Baroness Walmsley: I live in the real world. We on these Benches may not prevail in the end. Should that unfortunately be the case, we would wish to see the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, in the Bill.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My mother used to say "having your cake and eating it". That sums up the position perfectly.

We are keen to give the matter further thought. We are grateful to the noble Baroness and the noble Lord for bringing forward the amendment, but we hope that they will not press it now.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am genuinely grateful to the noble Lord for his response and for offering to give further consideration to the amendments. I was aware that there was a financial concern, although it must be

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a fairly small one in relation to county councils. That is neither here nor there. It is right that the matter should be examined. I know that my colleagues in local government hope that they will be able to demonstrate that the proposal would be cost-neutral. I look forward to hearing from the Minister again on Report, when I hope to see the amendments tabled in his name. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 36 agreed to.

Clause 37 [Anti-social behaviour orders]:

[Amendment No. 165 not moved.]

Clause 37 agreed to.

Clause 38 [Certain orders made on conviction of offences]:

10.30 p.m.

Baroness Linklater of Butterstone moved Amendment No. 166:

    Page 31, line 41, leave out from beginning to end of line 6 on page 32.

The noble Baroness said: I rise to propose Amendment No. 166 and to speak to Amendment No. 167, which, as Members of the Committee will have noticed, is virtually identical and extends the proposed deletion to Clause 38(4).

The amendment relates to the provision in the Bill which states that, where an ASBO—an anti-social behaviour order—has been imposed by the youth court, the automatic reporting restrictions which currently apply under Section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 should be lifted. While the court retains the discretion to apply reporting restrictions in individual cases, the balance has been reversed from what currently obtains, where reporting is automatically restricted unless the court decides otherwise.

The intention of the clause is to make public the details of a young person who is subject to an ASBO, including his or her name, address and school, and so on, with a view to "naming and shaming", to use that unattractive phrase. Not only is the phrase unattractive but so is the motive. Children are rarely shamed into good social behaviour, and I know of no objective or convincing evidence that treating young people in this way and publishing their offence and subsequent order has the effect of deterring future offending behaviour.

I understand that the intention in the Bill is to reassure the community that action is being taken against such young people, and the public will be encouraged to make complaints and inform the police of breaches. But equally well it could increase fear of crime by heightening public awareness. Indeed, there is ample anecdotal evidence that it is more likely to have the detrimental effect of stigmatising the child within the community, impacting on the whole family, including younger siblings, whose vulnerability, as we have already discussed, should also be borne in mind, and impeding community relations—not to speak of

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the damaging effect on job prospects and lowered chances of going straight in the community, which is what we all want. There is also a strong possibility of the reverse result—of a kind of notoriety which bestows an anti-hero status on the young person. That, of course, is totally undesirable.

More importantly, Article 40(2) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child asserts the child's right to privacy,

    "at all stages of the proceedings".

That cannot be ignored. Further, Article 8 of the ECHR, concerning the right to a private life, is also relevant, as was demonstrated in the case of The Queen v. The Chief Constable of Essex Police, where the court found that,

    "damage could be done to the claimant's family . . . and the need to safeguard children is particularly important".

As always—here, as often I do, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland—a balance must be struck. In this case, the potential damage to the family and children outweighs any perceived advantage from publicising the offenders' details in posters. I like to think that the Government could also take that view.

In short, the anonymity of children under 18 should be protected both in their interest and, equally importantly, in the interest of the community as well, unless there is a real issue of public safety. I hope that the Government will seriously reconsider this aspect of the process of the youth court in the interests of the community as well as of the offender, rather than pursue this negative and potentially damaging change. We must look to positive and constructive ways of reducing anti-social behaviour, and I believe that this is not one of them. I beg to move.

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