HC Deb 12 April 1960 vol 621 cc1063-4
18. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consult with the Scottish chief constables, with a view to introducing legislation to establish a regional crime squad, to be made available to police forces throughout Scotland.

Mr. Maclay

I understand that Glasgow and certain neighbouring forces are considering the establishment of a small squad to operate throughout their areas, and I very much welcome this example of co-operation between police forces which does not require legislation. Consideration of the possible extension of local arrangements on these lines is a matter for the chief constables concerned.

Mr. Dempsey

Would the right hon. Gentleman state that any further extension would probably have his co-operation, because the object of the extension would be to recruit the best professional skill that we have in Scotland for the purpose of criminal detection?

Mr. Maclay

Certainly, when we have some experience of this scheme study would be given to the possibilities of extension.

Mr. Hannan

The right hon. Gentleman's Department set up a central criminal register for Scotland which seemed to go part of the way towards the establishment of this department, for which some of us have been asking for some time. Could not the right hon. Gentleman go further and not leave it to his chief constables but himself take action in this matter and make this force available to any part of Scotland?

Mr. Maclay

That is another question. I remind the House that the basis of British policing is local organisation. The larger forces are always ready to assist the smaller, and I do not think that a change of the kind the hon. Member is suggesting is very desirable. It would require a very great deal of thought.

Mr. T. Fraser

Will the proposal to set up a central C.I.D. for Scotland be within the purview of the Royal Commission?

Mr. Maclay

I should like notice of that supplementary question.