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Probationers (Compensation Orders)

Volume 885: debated on Thursday 6 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in view of the fact that those placed on probation with compensation orders to repay stolen funds are free to leave the country and thereby avoid the penalties imposed on them by the courts, whether he will propose measures designed to prevent this abuse.

No, Sir. We are always ready to consider proposals for dealing with abuses, but we know of no evidence which would justify such measures, even if they were practicable.

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, but will he consider a system of endorsing passports, or a system whereby bonds are placed with the courts, before people with compensation orders against them are allowed to leave the country, particularly where, as in some cases, compensation orders are made as an alternative to imprisonment?

The hon. Gentleman has kindly drawn my attention to the one case which he has in mind, but about 62,000 compensation orders were made last year, and if in each case the magistrates' clerk had to endorse the passport—in some cases there would be no passport—it might well be an excessively cumbrous procedure just to deal with one or two cases.