HC Deb 10 May 1948 vol 450 cc1706-7
2. Mr. Gammans

asked the Minister of Works if he will make a statement on the increase in vandalism in London parks after dark; and the steps being taken to prevent it.

Mr. Key

Vandalism in the Royal Parks in London after dark has greatly increased since the removal of the railings. Buildings are repeatedly broken into, chairs and other equipment damaged, and plants stolen. The shortage of park keepers and police makes prevention difficult, but I am endeavouring to recruit more park keepers and watchmen, and I am also providing fences and hedges wherever possible.

Mr. Gammans

To what does the right hon. Gentleman attribute this deplorable state of affairs? Does he think it is due to shortage of police or to a general breakdown in the sense of public responsibility?

Mr. Key

I would say—and this is my personal opinion—that just as after the first world war so after this war there has been a breakdown in the discipline of the young people of this country which will take some time to overcome.

Mr. Tolley

Has my right hon. Friend considered making it clear to the general public that they should take care of these parks which after all, are their own property?

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my right hon. Friend consider erecting notices appealing for better behaviour on the part of the users of these parks? That might have a better effect.