HC Deb 13 May 1971 vol 817 cc607-8
26. Mr. Kelley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will institute an inquiry into the reason why £78,000 was removed from the home of an Armthorpe resident by Scotland Yard detectives, and held by them for 10 days against the wishes of the owner.

Mr. Sharples

Since the person concerned has expressed his intention of instituting legal proceedings, it would be improper for me to comment.

Mr. Kelley

I appreciate the difficulty in which the hon. Gentleman finds himself. Is he aware that a writ has been issued against the police in this matter? Does not this case reveal a crying need for a top-level investigation into the methods of acquiring and acting upon information by the police? Is he further aware that action of this kind can cause considerable embarrassment to a perfectly law-abiding citizen? Is he also aware that a person can be deprived of a considerable sum of money over a long period while forensic investigations are taking place? Does not he consider that the Home Office is entitled to take some action in this matter?

Mr. Sharpies

My understanding is that the money has been returned. If it is wished to make a complaint against the police, the proper procedure exists.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

May I ask a general question without going into this particular case? What right have the police to go into any place without a warrant? If they have a warrant, have they the power automatically to take anything if they have some ground for suspicion that it has been stolen or is not in the ownership of the right person? What is the statutory authority under which the police act? I am referring to the general case and not to the particular case mentioned in the Question.

Mr. Sharples

The Question refers to a specific instance and it would be wrong for me to comment, in relation to a specific instance, in general terms.

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