HC Deb 29 March 1956 vol 550 cc2347-8
43. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the number of prosecutions for soliciting heard at Bow Street and Marlborough Street magistrates' courts has fallen in recent weeks; and what are the reasons therefor.

Major Lloyd-George

In the three weeks ended 24th March, 202 prosecutions for soliciting were heard at Bow Street Magistrates' Court, compared with 328 in the preceding three weeks. At Marlborough Street Magistrates' Court there were 91, compared with 60 in the preceding three weeks. I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that these variations are not attributable to any one cause, and it is not surprising that the number of arrests varies from time to time since the police are empowered to arrest only when they have reasonable grounds for suspecting an offence against the law.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether it is not a fact that by working to the strict letter of the law the number of police arrests fell to the extent shown during the period to which he has referred? Has there not been some little difficulty as a result of working to rule?

Major Lloyd-George

No. The Commissioner assures me that that is not so. As the hon. and gallant Member will, I am sure, appreciate, this is an extremely difficult law to enforce. Our sympathy ought to be extended to these men, and particularly the younger ones, who have to carry it out. I do not think that some of the allegations which have been made against them, either in this House or outside, help them in carrying out an extremely difficult task.

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