HC Deb 04 February 1965 vol 705 cc1254-5
3. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied, in the light of the Mars-Jones Report, that the aim of securing full, vigorous and impartial inquiry into complaints against the police is adequately met by the new provisions in the 1964 Police Bill; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Frank Soskice)

As I reminded the House on 3rd December last, the procedure for dealing with complaints has been altered in a number of respects since the date of the incidents dealt with in Mr. Mars-Jones Report. The new arrangements meet all the more serious criticisms made by Mr. Mars-Jones of the earlier procedure.

It is too soon to say whether these arrangements will secure the objects referred to by the hon. Member; I hope they will. I have, however, asked H.M. Inspectors of Constabulary to pay particular attention to the manner in which complaints are dealt with, and I intend to keep this under close review.

Mr. Shepherd

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate the fact that these circumstances could, in fact, be repeated under the existing mechanics of the 1964 Act? This gives rise to a considerable degree of concern, and will the right hon. and learned Gentleman continue to give this matter his closest personal attention, since it is important in the interests of re-establishing good faith between the police and public that these inquiries are seen to be impartial?

Sir F. Soskice

I entirely agree that the relations between the public and the police are of absolutely prime importance, and I will certainly bear what the hon. Gentleman has just said in mind. The most perfect system cannot be free from some defects, but I am very closely watching this. I want to give the 1964 Act at any rate a trial, bearing in mind the changes that have been made since the Mars-Jones Report and in the light of it.