HC Deb 23 October 1945 vol 414 cc1846-7
11. Mr. McGovern

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give an indication as to the methods employed by Glasgow police to put an end to the terror reigning in certain areas by gangs of youths who have been using weapons; and if he will arrange that selected persons shall visit the parents of known leaders and members of gangs known to the police and warn them of the dangers of a continuance of such violent methods.

Mr. Buchanan

I deplore the recent increase in clashes between rival gangs of lads, all of whom are under 19 years of age. The police, using motor patrols equipped with wireless, have dispersed various gatherings and made many arrests, and the courts have imposed salutary sentences. As regards the second part of the Question, I see grave objection to visits in individual cases, but everything possible will be done to bring home to parents and boys generally the folly of gang membership and leadership.

Mr. McGovern

Will the hon. Member state whether or not the absence of the regular police has had any effect on this matter; and has not the Department received representations for the release from the Forces of ordinary police, and would the hon. Member consider speeding-up the process of demolisations.

Mr. Buchanan

It so happens that this matter is not quite on my side, but is the concern of my hon. Friend the other Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who happens to be ill. But apart from that, Glasgow, with its terrible tenement dwellings and crowded population is not easy to deal with. The two problems are, lack of numbers in the police force, and also that a good number of the police are now reaching a fair age for police work. I have already raised the matter with the Home Department and we hope before long to start recruitment for the Glasgow Police Force and also to bring back some of the men from the Forces in order to increase it.

Mr. McAllister

Since my hon. Friend attributes the violence of Glasgow gangs to living in tenement buildings, will he encourage the Glasgow corporation to pursue a policy of decentralisation of population?

Mr. Buchanan

My hon. Friend raises a wide question and in the meantime I have enough on my hands to get a few houses built.