HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1860-1
5. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, when he has obtained a report from a chief constable on inquiries made into allegations of police brutality, he will undertake to make the report available to the hon. Member for the constituency concerned.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No, Sir. I think that it is important to preserve the principle of confidentiality in police reports.

Mr. Brooks

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that it is unsatisfactory, not least to the police, to have the accused acting as judge and jury in their own defence? In order that Members of this House can ensure that justice is seen to be done, will he consider making the police subject to the ombudsman, which would at least serve to de-masculate that gentleman?

Mr. Jenkins

The last point is a different question. On the first point, I do not think that in the particular case which I believe my hon. Friend has in mind, though he quite legitimately draws a general inference from it, there is any question of the police being judge and jury in their own case, though the allegations, which I was glad to discuss with him, were very fully brought out on appeal before the Recorder of Birkenhead and were before the court in considerable detail.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

While on this subject, will the right hon. Gentleman say a word about brutality to the police.

You will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that among the—[HON. MEMBERS "Question."] I was going to ask a question. I say, Mr. Speaker, that the Home Secretary will be aware that among the police officers who guard us in Parliament one has had his face laid open and another has had his head badly damaged in the recent riots in Grosvenor Square. Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that when cases of brutality of this kind are raised it is right to speak also of the brutality suffered by the police?

Mr. Jenkins

I certainly do not think that arises out of Question No. 5. I do not think that throwing charges of this sort across the Floor of the House necessarily helps matters. Certainly, when the police have a difficult situation to deal with, as I believe they did last week, they will command the support and sympathy of everyone in this House.

Mr. Macdonald

If the full report cannot be made available, would my right hon. Friend consider making available to the Member concerned the conclusions and the reason for them?

Mr. Jenkins

I am certainly always willing to discuss, in as much detail as I possibly can with any Member concerned, matters of this sort.

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