HC Deb 30 June 1966 vol 730 cc2184-5
46. Mr. Alan Lee Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost to public funds arising from the 40-year practice of detailing an escort of the Metropolitan Police to accompany delivery of daily Wimbledon tennis results to certain members of the Royal Family; and how many policemen are thereby taken away from their normal duties.

Miss Bacon

No police escort is provided for the car which, I understand, is itself hired by the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Three police motor cyclists are on general traffic duties during the championships. They do not leave the vicinity of the club.

Mr. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while I am grateful for that reply, I do not think that it is satisfactory? Does not she agree that the police escort was taken off normal police duties and that it would be better for this information to be conveyed through the usual mass media? Will she give an assurance that no other sporting activity receives this privileged treatment?

Miss Bacon

What happened is that the motor cyclists accompanied the car, in which Princess Marina was travelling, through the crowds. After finishing this duty, they escorted an empty hired car to the Royal entrance, where it was said to be urgently required. Unknown to the police, arrangements had been made between officials and representatives of the Press for a staged photograph to be taken of the car and the messenger used to convey information to the Royal Palaces. The motor cyclists did not leave the vicinity of the Wimbledon ground.