HC Deb 22 June 1967 vol 748 cc1929-30
10. Mr. Tapsell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes to protect foreign embassies in London.

15. Mr. Walters

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present arrangements for the protection of foreign embassies in London; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is responsible for deciding the degree of protection to be given to embassies in London; he is satisfied that the present arrangements, which involve a substantial deployment of manpower, are adequate.

Mr. Tapsell

I thank the right hon. Gentleman. Does not he agree, particularly in view of the actions which have been permitted to take place in a number of foreign countries, that it is all the more important that we should set an example of civilised behaviour by protecting embassies in London? Does not he further agree that any failure in this respect should be taken very seriously?

Mr. Jenkins

In general, I agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I know that the Commissioner attaches importance to this aspect of the matter. At present, two sergeants and 111 constables are employed full-time on this duty, but clearly there has to be some limit to the amount of manpower so used.

Mr. Walters

Bearing in mind how strongly we feel, quite rightly, about demonstrations and violence against our embassies or any other embassies abroad, should we not ensure that incidents such as that which took place at the Greek Embassy—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That matter is sub judice. The hon. Gentleman may put a general question but not refer to that specific case.

Mr. Walters

—should we not make sure that incidents of any kind against any embassy in London do not take place?

Mr. Jenkins

I agree that it is very undesirable that incidents should take place.