HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc609-11
10. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if, in view of the lethal and criminal purposes to which its teachings can be put, he will introduce an inquiry into the growing cult of karate with a view to its effective control.

55. Mr. Rhodes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the recent establishment of karate clubs in the North of England; whether, in view of the lethal and criminal purposes to which this cult can be put, he will inquire into the possibility of registration of these clubs with police or similar authorities; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Taverne

My right hon. Friend is having inquiries made, and will give further consideration to the matter when these have been completed.

Mr. Braine

I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for that most helpful reply. Will these inquiries cover what are, in my view, the two essential requirements that would be broadly acceptable to bona fide karate clubs? The first is the need for the proper registration of clubs and the licensing of instructors, as is done in the case of boxing. The second is the checking, and even the banning, of correspondence courses and manuals of instruction enabling persons outside the controlled discipline of the clubs to acquire dangerous and, in some cases, lethal knowledge.

Mr. Taverne

The inquiries will be aimed at finding out exactly what the problem is, and we will then consider remedies. As the hon. Member will appreciate, there are difficulties in banning publication, but we will look at all these considerations when the inquiries have been completed.

Mr. Rhodes

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that at the moment thugs and hooligans can join the clubs? Only this morning I heard that the head of a large club in the North of England welcomed an inquiry on the grounds that, as he put it, undesirable elements were now joining and that some organisers of clubs were only out to make money quickly. That being so, will my hon. and learned Friend at least make sure that clubs are registered, and that membership lists are available to the police?

Mr. Taverne

What action we take will depend on the outcome of the inquiries, and any information my hon. Friend has will be gratefully received. It is encouraging to find that the karate associations welcome the idea of an inquiry and are willing to co-operate.