HC Deb 27 March 1952 vol 498 cc819-20
27. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now make a statement following the discussions between local authorities and the Departments concerned on the question of school-crossing patrols.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

My colleagues and I had a most useful discussion with the local authority representatives on Tuesday afternoon, 25th March. We are now examining a number of questions which were raised at the meeting.

Mr. Janner

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say when he is likely to be able to give the House the benefit of his opinions on that conference because, as he knows, the matter is one of extremely grave urgency?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I could not agree more strongly with the hon. Gentleman than in saying that the matter is one of grave urgency. I want to get our steps into operation as soon as possible, but I think the hon. Member will agree that it is essentially a matter in which I have to carry local authorities with me, because they deal with the position of the schools and also the position of the parents. I hope, therefore, that we shall be able to get an agreed system very shortly.

Mr. A. G. Bottomley

Is the Home Secretary aware that the Kent County Council have decided to abolish these patrols unless the police undertake these duties? In those circumstances, will the Home Secretary say that he will consider authorising the police to carry out these duties?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Certainly I will consider that. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education indicated, that is what we are considering. It is a question of finding the machinery for putting the matter into operation. I hope all hon. Members will help me and help the local authorities to find a system to deal with what I think is a most important matter.