§ 10. Sir Herbert Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now introduce legislation to amend the Criminal Justice Act, so as to provide for the restoration of corporal punishment in suitable cases.
§ 13. Mr. Braine
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the growing concern felt throughout the country at the increase in crimes of violence and brutality; and if he will introduce legislation to increase the penalty for persons convicted of such offences.
§ 16. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has taken note of the recent comments by the Lord Chief Justice regarding the abolition of corporal punishment for crimes of robbery with violence; and whether he proposes to take legislative action to restore this penalty.
§ 23. Mr. Marlowe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the public concern with regard to the frequency of crimes of violence; and whether he will introduce legislation to restore corporal punishment for such crimes.
§ Mr. Ede
The question whether the criminal courts should have power to award corporal punishment for offences such as armed robbery and robbery with violence is a controversial one, on which the differences of opinion do not follow panty lines. The question was fully debated when the Criminal Justice Bill was recently before Parliament, and Parliament then decided to include a provision in the Bill taking away such a power from the courts. I have no evidence which in my view warrants the reopening of the decision then reached.
§ Sir H. Williams
Is the Minister aware that the number of women attacked by men armed with coshes is so large that it is time he adapted his mind to the circumstances now prevailing?
§ Mr. Ede
The number of offences that were punishable by corporal punishment before the alteration of the law has, in fact, fallen since its repeal. In the nine months to September, 1948, there were 711 such offences. Corporal punishment was abolished on 13th September, 1948, and in the corresponding nine months of 1949 the number of offences for which this penalty could otherwise have been awarded fell from 711 to 597.
§ Mr. Braine
Would the Home Secretary assure the House that in this Parliament the first consideration of his Department will be the preservation of life and property?
§ Sir T. Moore
Does the Home Secretary recall that when some of us, in the last Parliament, were endeavouring to persuade him to retain whipping in cases of this kind, he fell back on experience in foreign countries? Now he has had experience in this country. What steps, therefore, does he propose to take to safeguard women and children from lustful and savage acts of cruelty and violence?
§ Sir T. Moore
If the hon. Member is referring to me will he refer to my proper constituency, and not one belonging to one of his own colleagues?
§ Mr. Norman Bower
Can the Home Secretary say why, if flogging is not considered to be a deterrent, it is still retained in prisons for attacks on wardens?
§ Mr. Marlowe
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that his figures are quite fallacious in view of the fact that before the abolition of corporal punishment the indictment was specially drawn in a way which would make that punishment awardable, but that since then indictments have been differently drawn, and there is no deduction whatever to be drawn from these figures?
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Is the Home Secretary aware that I have here a report of the police for a constituency which is represented by the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), which shows that last year there was a decrease in serious crime and that there was no occasion for demanding whipping?
§ Sir T. Moore
I beg to give notice that I will raise this subject again on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.