HC Deb 17 March 1959 vol 602 cc204-5
44. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the disappearance of Moira Anderson of Coatbridge, aged 12 years, remains unsolved, that the man who carried away Betty Nichol, aged 12 years, escaped, and no arrest has been made, and that the clothes of John Condon, aged 5 years, who naked body was found in a canal, have not been recovered; and if he will call for a report under Section 34 of the Police (Scotland) Act, 1956, on steps taken regarding these matters, in order to satisfy parents of these and other children in this constituency.

Mr. N. Macpherson

Full reports on the cases of Moira Anderson and Elizabeth Nicol were obtained from the chief constables concerned before a reply was given to the hon. Lady on 25th November. My right hon. Friend understands from the chief constables that, although their investigations are continuing, there have been no developments since that date. As regards the case of John Condon, he has just received a report and will write to the hon. Lady as soon as he has fully considered it.

Mrs. Mann

Will the hon. Gentleman say if his right hon. Friend has any power, if the local authority has any power, if anyone on earth has any power, to compel a chief constable to call in trained detectives to solve these mysteries? Have we to wait until there are another eight murders in Lanarkshire before trained detectives are sent there?

Mr. Macpherson

I think that the hon. Lady is perhaps being a little unfair to the police forces in Coatbridge and Airdrie. Both of them have a much higher proportion of solved crimes than the average for the country as a whole. If the hon. Lady takes only two examples, she is being rather unfair to the authorities concerned, in the light of those figures.