HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1871-2
28. Mr. Maker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the type of breathalyser used by the police is not available for sale to the public; and if he will amend the relevant regulations in order that they may become so available.

Mr. Taverne

This is a matter for the manufacturers, not for regulations.

Mr. Blaker

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the reason why this type of breathalyser is not now available is simply shortage of supply and not any Government regulation, and will he give an assurance that when supplies are available the Government will put no obstacle in the way of the public buying such types?

Mr. Taverne

This is entirely a decision of the manufacturers. It is not because of any regulation, as I said. Whether or not supplies are available and the public use them will not be matters for Government regulation again, although I must add that there are disadvantages in people testing themselves, as has been pointed out in the past. This is not regarded as something which should necessarily be encouraged because it might lead people to drink up to the limit, and also the circumstances might be such that what might be a guide on that occasion might not be a guide in general.

Dr. Winstanley

While I do not dispute the right hon. Gentleman's right to disclaim responsibility for issuing breathalysers, would he not agree that the average person is very anxious to comply with the new regulations and finds it puzzling that he is not provided with some assistance so to do?

Mr. Taverne

I have given my Answer why the Government regard it as inadvisable for people to rely on private tests. As to supplies of the device, I understand that it is for commercial reasons that the firm has decided, for the present at any rate, not to put the device on public sale.

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