HC Deb 04 December 1963 vol 685 cc1119-20
5. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to ensure that the road traffic regulations are so framed that they put less burden on the time of the police force and can be administered efficiently without straining the relationship between the police and the motorist.

Mr. Marples

Before regulations are made under the Road Traffic Acts my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is always consulted so that the implications of police enforcement can be taken fully into account.

Mr. Wade

Is the Minister aware of the case of the lady who was arrested for not sending her driving licence to the court and the case of the man who was imprisoned for three days and nights because his road fund licence was out of date? Would he agree that this type of case tends to exacerbate the feeling of motorists and thereby makes the task of the police more difficult? What does he suggest should be done about these cases.

Mr. Marples

I have seen some articles in the Press on the people concerned in these two cases. They have varied a little. But this is a question for the Home Secretary, not for me. The task of enforcement is the Home Secretary's, not mine.

Mr. Popplewell

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this question again? The police are being utilised in tracking down petty motoring offences when they could surely be better employed elsewhere. Could not he consider some system of enforcement officers, perhaps under the traffic commissioners, to carry out this sort of work? Would not this be in the interests of the good type of road hauliers and other road users who feel very aggrieved by many breaches of the law?

Mr. Marples

Responsibility for enforcement and the actions of the police in the area is not mine. It is no good my looking at it. The responsibility is that of the Home Secretary.

Mr. S. Silverman

The right hon. Gentleman is trying to evade responsibility by saying that it belongs to the Home Secretary. Has not the right hon. Gentleman forgotten that the Home Secretary is not responsible for the police everywhere but only in London, and that any responsibility there may be outside London must, therefore, be his? Will he not look at this again to see whether applications for warrants should continue to be made in quite trivial cases when all common sense is against it?

Mr. Marples

The hon. Gentleman must be fair. I said that the Home Secretary had responsibility for the Metropolitan Police but outside that area it is still not I who am responsible.

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