HC Deb 29 March 1973 vol 853 cc1512-3
9. Mr. Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with the security precautions for explosives in explosive stores, magazines and other registered premises; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. R. Carr

A review of the law relating to the security of explosives is in progress, and existing controls have already been tightened within the powers available under the Explosives Act 1875.

Mr. Fowler

I am glad to hear what my right hon. Friend has said. Is he aware that over the past three years there have been 99 attempted thefts of explosives from magazines and stores, and that no fewer than 92 of those have been successful? This is not a very impressive security record. In view of the obvious current danger, is not there a need for urgent attention to be given to this matter?

Mr. Carr

Before the latest worrying events in this country the Home Office had started tightening up under the existing law to which I referred. I have now thought it right to examine the existing law. I am not sure whether I took in my hon. Friend's statistics accurately. My figures indicated that thefts from licensed stores dropped from 28 in 1969 to 10 in 1972.

Mr. Lipton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that anyone can go into a local authority office, inspect and obtain a list of all registered premises holding explosives, and then go with a screwdriver and help himself to as much gelignite as he wants?

Mr. Carr

On the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question, he may be right when he says that lists are available, but I am glad to say that I am sure that he is not right on the second part.

Back to