HC Deb 17 March 1960 vol 619 c1465
28. Mr. Sydney Irving

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is given to the Metropolitan Police about publicity in the early stages of murder cases before the apprehension of a murderer.

Mr. R. A. Butler

It is entirely for the Commissioner to decide upon publicity in a particular case.

Mr. Irving

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, as in a number of recent: cases there has been a great deal of publicity, with photographs of people likely to be chief witnesses, this might constitute danger to those witnesses and not be in the public interest because it might deter other witnesses coming forward, as in the Birmingham case? This is particularly undesirable where children are involved. Will he give advice to the Metropolitan Police so that other forces may heed it also?

Mr. Butler

There are cases where publicity is useful and others where it is very dangerous, as the hon. Member suggests. These matters have been and will be drawn to the attention of the Commissioner.