asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations have been made to him regarding the adequacy of powers available to sheriffs for the ordering of community service orders; and whether he has plans for interim legislation.
During the consultations which took place about the introduction of experiments in community service doubts were expressed by some sheriffs about the competency of requiring community work under existing powers. The question of competency is one for the individual sentencing court, subject to appeal to the High Court of Justiciary. However, my right hon. Friend is advised that it would be competent for the court to add a requirement to undertake community work to a probation order if, in terms of Section 183(4) and 384(4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975, it considered such a requirement necessary for securing the good conduct of the offender or for preventing a repetition by him of the offence or the commission of other offences. The offender's willingness to comply with such a requirement would be a prerequisite, as it is to the making of the probation order itself. The four regional councils have been invited to proceed with the experiments subject to local consultation to ensure that the facilities are likely to be used by the courts for which it is proposed to make them available.My right hon. Friend proposes to consider whether at a suitable opportunity legislation may make specific provision for requirements to undertake community work.