§ 18. Major MILNER
asked the Home Secretary whether the police in cases of doubt or difficulty are in a position to take legal advice; if so, whether that of the town clerk, prosecuting solicitor, or the Director of Public Prosecutions; whether, having taken such opinion, the responsibility for further action rests upon the police or the legal adviser; and whether the cost of such legal action falls upon the local authority, the Police Fund, or, in the case of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Treasury?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Whether the police would seek advice on the one hand locally from the town clerk, the clerk of the peace, or the prosecuting solicitor, if any, or on the other hand from the Director of Public Prosecutions, would necessarily depend on the circumstances and the nature of the particular case. The responsibility for further action rests with the police except in cases where it appears to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the public interest requires that proceedings should be undertaken by him. Costs incurred by the Director are defrayed from the Vote for Law Charges: those resulting from local police prosecutions fall upon the Police Fund, except in so far as the court may order them to be defrayed from local funds under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act, or the Director may in any particular case sanction the payment of any special costs in pursuance of the Regulations made under the Prosecution of Offences Acts, 1879 and 1884.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Each case must be judged on its merits. If the local chief constable has any doubt on the subject, he may consult either my office or the Public Prosecutor, and, if the Public Prosecutor has his attention drawn to a case, he may give instructions to institute proceedings.
§ 19. and 20. Major MILNER
asked the Home Secretary (1) whether he will state the rules or regulations under which the police may consult the Director of Public Prosecutions in connection with matters arising out of which proceedings may be taken; 2455 (2) whether his Department has issued any memoranda to chief constables of provincial forces concerning the circumstances under which the Director of Public Prosecutions may be consulted; and whether, in the event of such consultation, the responsibility for further action rests upon the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The regulations made under the Prosecution of Offences Acts, 1879 and 1984, provide among other things that it, shall be the duty of the Director of Public Prosecutions, either on application or on his own initiative, to give in any case which appears to him to be of importance or difficulty advice to clerks of justices of the peace and to chief officers of police and to such other persons as he may think right, and such advice may, at the discretion of the Director, be given verbally or in writing. In addition the police are required to report certain offences to him. Copies of the regulations have been sent to all County and Borough Chief Constables who are aware that they can consult the Director in all proper cases. In cases where the Director has been asked to advise, the responsibility for any further action rests with the police, unless it appears to the Director that the case is one in which the public interest requires that proceedings should be undertaken or carried on by him.
§ Major MILNER
I do not know whether those regulations are available. If not, will the right hon. Gentleman favour me with a copy?