HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc616-7
18. Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what help he will give to relieve the burden on Devon County Council of the cost of searching for escaped prisoners from Dartmoor Prison and other prisoners in Devon.

Miss Bacon

My right hon. Friend does not propose to change the existing arrangements.

Mr. Mills

Would the right hon. Lady bear in mind that this still costs a lot of time, money and energy and causes considerable annoyance to the County of Devon? Would she not consider even allowing one of the warders on duty outside with working parties to be at least provided with a horse, which would stop a lot of this nonsense?

Miss Bacon

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt realise that, not only because of prison escapes but for many other reasons, there are times when local authorities must meet increased expenditure because of police investigations. The number of escapes in Devon has gone down considerably between 1964 and 1966. In 1964 there were 10 escapes from Dartmoor. In 1966 there were only five.

Mr. Mathew

Does the right hon. Lady realise that this is not only a question of expense; that during periods of escapes an almost intolerable burden is imposed on the constabulary? Is she aware that very often the police are on duty day and night while a watch is being kept and that Devon Constabulary has had to do this for a great many years? Will she look at the matter again?

Miss Bacon

Other areas are also affected. As I said, when one considers the whole of the County of Devon—Dartmoor, Exeter and Halden Camp—one sees that while in 1964 there were 30 escapes, in 1966 there were only 12. The number is, therefore, decreasing as the years go by in Devon County.

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