HC Deb 06 December 1973 vol 865 cc1428-9
4. Mr. James Lamond

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been taken into custody and released within 24 hours under the Criminal Damages Act 1971 since June 1972.

5. Mr. Ashton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimates he has made of the total number of arrests made under the Criminal Damages Act 1971 since its inception.

Mr. Carlisle

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Lamond

Is the Minister aware of the disgraceful incidents in Colchester on 3rd and 4th October this year when 25 trade unionists and students returning by bus from a perfectly peaceful demonstration in Shrewsbury were arrested, kept in custody for a lengthy period and had their homes thoroughly searched for no good reason? Is he aware that incidents of that kind add weight to the belief of trade unionists that the police and the law are picking on them? Will the Minister have an inquiry made into the Colchester incident?

Mr. Carlisle

I am grateful for the opportunity totally to repudiate what the hon. Gentleman said at the end of his question, which is unjustified on any possible basis. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the police act with impartiality on all matters. With respect, I do not see how the Colchester incident arises out of the Question, but I shall certainly write to the hon. Gentleman in detail about that incident, as I have written to other hon. Members.