§ 7. Mr. Lubbock
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions have been given to the police in the Metropolitan Police force about alleged cases of intimidation under Section 30 of the Rent Act, 1965.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I am informed by the Commissioner that in such cases officers are instructed to deal with any breach of the peace or other violence and to make it clear that if an offence under Section 30 of the Rent Act, 1965, is committed criminal proceedings may follow. Those concerned are also told that the police will send an immediate report to the local housing authority to enable it to consider whether there is a case for further investigation, with a view to prosecution.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Is the Secretary of State aware that some cases of alleged intimidation have taken place in the middle of the night, and that it is absolutely useless, from the point of view of a person being victimised, for the police to say that they are going to send a report to the local authority in the morning? Will he issue further instructions to them that they are to take action to arrest persons on the spot if intimidation is taking place?
§ Mr. Jenkins
The police certainly do prevent intimidation from taking place, but it is extremely difficult for the police in confused circumstances, whether they be in the middle of the night or at any other time, to interpret the intricacies of the Rent Act legislation. This is a difficulty, but I have had, and will continue to have, discussions with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing about this matter.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
Is the Secretary of State aware, although I agree that the police are making efforts, that there are still certain loopholes, and may I ask the Secretary of State to see with the other Minister that all these loopholes are once and for all firmly closed?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I will certainly study any evidence on this point my hon. Friend would like to put to me.