HC Deb 21 March 1962 vol 656 c364
6. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Secretary of State for War what action he has taken to deal with the conditions under which four men of the Depot, 1st Royal Scots King's Own Scottish Borderers, Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland, are awaiting trial in the guardroom, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool.

Mr. Profumo

Action had already been taken by the unit concerned to prevent overcrowding before the hon, Lady sent me this complaint. Additional accommodation for prisoners was found, and the number of men in the guardroom cell limited to four.

Mrs. Braddock

Should it have been necessary for men to have to write a letter giving details of the shocking conditions they had to put up with while awaiting trial, if they were correct? Should not something be done to ensure that there is adequate and decent accommodation for men awaiting trial for some misdemeanour, instead of the sort of accommodation these men described in their letter to me?

Mr. Profumo

I understand the hon. Lady's concern about this matter, but there are always two sides to a case of this sort. A certain amount of the discomfort and the unpleasant conditions were brought upon those being held in custody by themselves. Normally, if they wanted to leave the cell at night they were escorted a few hundred yards, but there had been some escapes. One of the prisoners who wrote to the hon. Lady had himself been released and had gone absent. Therefore, we had to take special measures, which account for the problems the hon. Lady has drawn to my attention. I assure her, as I have in my Answer, that this is not general.