HC Deb 03 May 1972 vol 836 cc362-3
4. Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement upon progress in the establishment of the Scottish Council on Crime.

The Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Agriculture, Scottish Office (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

The Scottish Council on Crime has now been set up. It held its first meeting, which my right hon. Friend attended, on 14th April.

Mr. Sproat

While I welcome the fact that the council has held its first meeting, may I ask my hon. Friend to say whether he or my right hon. Friend have found any justification for the charges made, notably by the police, that the council was not properly representative, and whether my hon. Friend has found evidence that so large a body will be able to agree on any policy or advice?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

In addition to the two chief constables who are members of the council, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary also attends meetings. The police are well represented on it. As for the second part of my hon. Friend's question, it is interesting that the new initiative that we have taken in establishing the council has been widely welcomed. The quality and breadth of membership that we have been able to attract to the council demonstrate that it has a real rôle to play.

Mr. Ronald King Murray

The Government having made a great deal of propaganda capital out of crime, will this body be allowed to get its teeth into some of the more intractable problems of crime in Scotland? Will it be encouraged to voice its views independently?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The hon. and learned Gentleman would show a more responsible attitude to this question if he dealt with it more seriously. Just because the Government are trying to get to the roots of problems concerning crime in Scotland, there is no need for the hon. and learned Gentleman to be so sour about it. I am confident that the council will produce good results.