HC Deb 03 May 1973 vol 855 cc1445-6
9. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his consultations with chief officers of police and other interested parties relative to his proposal to set up independent review procedures for complaints against the police on an experimental basis.

Mr. R. Carr

Discussions have begun with the police representative bodies and a further meeting has been arranged for later this month. It is too early to make any comment on the progress of the consultations.

Mr. Whitehead

Is the Secretary of State aware that since the debate in February I have received a number of letters from all over the country giving case histories which stress the need for a statutory basis to the review procedures which the right hon. Gentleman then agreed in principle? Will he accept that, whilst in that debate none of us felt it right to mention specific cases, specific chief officers, or specific police authorities, we are under great pressure to see the experiment under way this year and a statutory basis to review procedures next year?

Mr. Carr

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have not lost enthusiasm for the project since I made my statement to the House about it in February, on the occasion of the debate on the hon. Gentleman's Private Member's Bill. Discussions are proceeding, and I hope to keep to the time table that I announced in February, of bringing the outcome of my discussions to the House before the end of the year. It is very important that the police should feel sure that all their views and objections—the hon. Gentleman will know as well as any that there are some rather serious objections within the police force—should be able to be aired, fully discussed and debated, and considered. Therefore, we must not make too much rush—but I want to make as much hurry as I can.