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Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000

Part IV: General and Supplemental

Access to driver licensing records: Section 71

47.The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team established by the Home Secretary in September 1998 recommended that the police should have full access to driver records via the Police National Computer. The measure in the Act would enable police officers to have full and immediate access to those records.

School attendance: Section 72

48.The Social Exclusion Unit’s report of May 1998, Truancy and Social Exclusion, noted the important role that parents play in ensuring their children attend school and it stressed that the more serious the problems, the greater the need for more serious sanctions. In Autumn 1999, the Department for Education and Employment undertook a consultancy exercise entitled Tackling Truancy Together which included the proposal to raise the level of penalties for parents convicted of school attendance offences.

49.Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 provides that if a registered child of compulsory school age fails to attend school regularly, his parent is guilty of an offence. A parent convicted under this Section is liable to a fine up to level 3 on the standard scale – currently up to £1,000. Even when prosecuted, 80% of parents currently fail to attend court. The new provisions create a new aggravated offence committed where a parent fails without good reason to secure their child’s attendance at school even though they know that he is not attending. In these cases the court will be able to impose a fine up to level 4 – i.e. a fine of up to £2,500 – or if it thinks appropriate a prison sentence of up to 3 months.

Parenting orders: responsible officer: Section 73

50.Section 8 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provided for the parenting order as a new means of reinforcing parents’ responsibility for their children’s behaviour and providing parents with structured help and support to cope with this. Following pilots which ran from September 1998 to March 2000 the order was implemented across England and Wales on 1 June 2000. Section 73 extends the range of persons able to serve as responsible officer under a parenting order, that is the person responsible for overseeing the delivery of, and compliance with, the order.

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