HC Deb 28 October 1971 vol 823 cc2045-6
1. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made by his Department's inquiry into shoplifting, in the light of information given to him by the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Richard Sharples)

My hon. Friend's suggestions, and others, are still being considered by a working party appointed to advise on ways of preventing shoplifting, and thefts by staff employed by shops.

Mr. Adley

I am grateful for what I heard of my hon. Friend's answer. Does not he agree that serious social dangers have arisen, because of the establishment of supermarket trading in the past 15 years, particularly for the weak, the forgetful and the sick? Will he please bear in mind that many people feel that, in the same way as the Government seek to legislate to prevent the sale of such things as dangerous drugs, the Government also have a responsibility to prevent shopping procedures being legalised which result in people not being properly protected?

Mr. Sharples

We realise that there are dangers in this, and we are grateful to my hon. Friend for his suggestions, which are being very carefully considered.

Mr. John Hannam

Is my hon. Friend aware that while there were general ex- pressions of support by the Magistrates' Clerks' Association and the Law Society for the setting up of the inquiry, the reservation was expressed by the Law Society that it would be greatly strengthened by the inclusion of a solicitor?

Mr. Sharples

It is a fairly strong working party. The difficulty in trying to include everyone in such a working party is that it would be too big. But it represents all the interests concerned.