HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc606-7
6. Mr. Mathew

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further measures of protection he will afford to police and prison officers, in view of the latest outbreaks of violence.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I cannot at present add to the reply I gave on 18th October to a Question by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), and to the replies I gave on 20th October to Questions by the hon. Members for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) and for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).—[Vol. 734, c. 8, 391–2, 72.]

Mr. Mathew

Does the Home Secretary realise that this is a matter of great urgency, and one that is causing great disquiet throughout the country? Would he accept that what the public and all informed people want to see is a really unpleasant swingeing deterrent against criminals carrying firearms, and prisoners attacking prison officers, especially where the prisoners are already serving life sentences?

Mr. Jenkins

I am certainly aware of the great urgency and seriousness of the problem, and to some extent I agree with the way in which the hon. Member has posed it. I am proposing, as I think I have already told the House, to introduce in the forthcoming Criminal Justice Bill some further firearms control relating to shotguns.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman also look, during the review period, at the position of night guards in prisons, who are badly paid and work for long hours? Will he consider their rates of pay and conditions of service in his general consideration of the prison service and recruitment to it?

Mr. Jenkins

I will certainly keep that aspect in mind. I am aware that at the present time we are imposing heavy burdens by way of patrols whether by night guards or prison officers—or, in some cases, by the police. I hope that these burdens are only temporary until we have the Mountbatten Report and can make a more fundamental approach to the question of prison security.