HC Deb 04 April 1963 vol 675 cc617-9
24. Mrs. Butler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will launch a scheme for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, inviting the cooperation of parents, teachers, youth leaders, doctors, social workers and magistrates in a general campaign to tackle the problem.

Mr. Brooke

There is no simple answer to this problem. We need much more information about the underlying causes of delinquency, and I am supporting research to this end. I welcome local and personal initiative of the kind suggested and am already in touch with areas and organisations in which it has been taken, and I am also considering what further initiatives might be taken centrally.

Mrs. Butler

Does not the root of this problem lie in the failure of our educational provision and our whole social environment to encourage the idealism of young people, both girls and boys, and to provide worth-while outlets for their energies, particularly in the large towns? Should we not be urgently trying to find the answer to this in terms of national social policy on the lines suggested in my Question, which is a far bigger task than any purely personal or local initiative can undertake?

Mr. Brooke

Without ascribing failure to anyone, I think that there is a great deal in what the hon. Lady says, but the subject is not as simple as she suggests. I believe that we have to be prepared to put in hand most careful research in order to obtain hard information on which we can proceed.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the Home Secretary look again at the very important observations made on this problem by Sir John Wolfenden in his Report on physical education and recreation, and will he consult his noble Friend, Lord Hailsham, about implementing those recommendations?

Mr. Brooke

I am ready to look at anything in this field. As I have said in public this is just about the most difficult and important task of a Home Secretary, and I shall welcome the assistance of anyone from either House of Parliament or elsewhere who can give me helpful advice and support in the campaign I am seeking to wage against juvenile delinquency.

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