HC Deb 01 May 1969 vol 782 cc1602-3
21. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has refused to recommend the setting up of a Royal Commission on the causes and prevention of violence.

Mr. Callaghan

Because, at this stage, this important subject lends itself better to detailed research.

Dr. Summerskill

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in view of the serious increase in crimes of violence, it is just as important to understand the cause and prevention of this trend as it is to punish those responsible?

Mr. Callaghan

Yes, I do. The only difference between us is whether it would be more profitable to attempt to generalise and produce the cause or explanations of behaviour on matters as widely separated as robbery with armed violence and the behaviour of students at a particular university, or whether it is better to do this by means of detailed individual pieces of research. I would not rule out my hon. Friend's suggestion, but at this stage I think that it is better to proceed with individual studies.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

If the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to hold an inquiry, will he undertake to publish the results of such inquiries into individual cases, so that the House can judge what conclusions to draw from them?

Mr. Callaghan

I would not want to give a detailed answer to that. Obviously, any subject of research for the Home Office or done by a university for the Home Office should be open to hon. Members and, subject to a general qualification, I should like to make such results available. I am reviewing the scale of research to see whether there are particular subjects on which we might engage our attention, or ask others to do for us.