HC Deb 20 May 1965 vol 712 cc1639-40
1. Mr. Allason

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, under his regulations, it is permissible for anyone, other than regular police forces, to display imitations of official police signs; and whether he will take steps to prevent this practice.

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

The use of these signs is not prohibited under any regulations made under police legislation. Highway authorities have powers to deal with unauthorised traffic signs and I do not consider that action is necessary on my part.

Mr. Allason

Is the Home Secretary aware that these signs go up off the highway on private roads but that they are, nevertheless, imitations of official police signs? In particular, for example, British Railways put them up on British Railways property. Is it not rather defrauding the public to put up imitations of police signs? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman, therefore, take steps to ensure that there are official police signs that no one else should use?

Sir F. Soskice

There are powers already in existence to deal with these signs under Section 56 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960, and Section 124 of the Highways Act, 1959. I have no information before me at the moment to lead me to think that those powers are inadequate, and, in any event, any extension of them would be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.

Mr. Snow

Has my right hon. and learned Friend's attention been drawn to a little bit of private enterprise by some householders who put up imitation police signs outside their houses to discourage parking under the title "Polite Notice"?

Sir F. Soskice

I have heard of that sort of thing being done. There are adequate powers under the ordinary law dealing with obstruction to take account of that type of sign. Again, I do not think that any further legislative powers are necessary, because existing powers can be used.