HC Deb 02 December 1968 vol 774 cc1014-5
13. Mr. Fortescue

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what instructions have been given to the special investigation officers of the Department of Social Security to ensure that they do not assume untenable rights of entry to and search of private houses.

Mr. Crossman

It is made clear to all officers dealing with claimants to supplementary benefit that they have no right of entry into houses.

Mr. Fortescue

I am grateful for that reply. Would not the Secretary of State agree that many people who are visited by these officers are very hazy about their rights, and that it is, therefore, essential that the officers when calling should make it completely clear to the householder that they, the officers, have no right either of entry or of search?

Mr. Crossman

I think I know the case to which the hon. Gentleman refers, and I have personally looked into it. I am convinced that the officer in question was a perfectly normal officer and did what he should. Mind you, when people are vague about their rights they will ask somebody inside from the front door because they do not want to be seen talking to him at the door.