HC Deb 07 December 1972 vol 847 cc1643-4
7. Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards the increasing use of armed security guards.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

I am not aware that there is an increasing use. It is not the practice of chief officers of police to grant firearm certificates for protection purposes whether to security guards or other persons.

Mr. Meacher

Is the Minister aware that there are now at least 100 persons in this country under the constant surveillance of armed security guards? What is the hon. and learned Gentleman's estimate of the cost to the British taxpayer of guarding Royal, political and diplomatic personnel from abroad? Is not there a danger of the matter getting out of hand if the practice escalates?

Mr. Carlisle

It all depends on what the hon. Gentleman means by "armed". As the hon. Gentleman knows, under the Firearms Act, 1968, any application for a firearm certificate has to be accompanied by a good reason for having the firearm in question. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has recommended to chief officers of police that personal protection should never be regarded as a good reason for the purposes of the relevant section. The position of the civilian security guard is no different from that of any other person.

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