HC Deb 19 December 1974 vol 883 cc1802-3
18. Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has given any guidance to police authorities about methods of interrogation of those convicted of or suspected of having committed acts of terrorism.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Chief officers of police are well aware that the recent legislation in no way affects methods of interrogation, but I have arranged for the police to be reminded of this fact.

Mr. Gow

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that many of those suspected of terrorism have in their possession information which, if available to the security forces, might save the lives of innocent civilians or of the security forces? Will he look again at the recommendations of the majority of the Parker Committee, in paragraphs 35 to 42?

Mr. Jenkins

I shall look again at any reports on this matter, but what I have endeavoured to do in the past few weeks, in difficult circumstances, is to give the police additional powers—powers which they have used most effectively. I have done nothing which has not been justified by the situation, and I have sought to preserve the rights of individuals to the greatest extent possible. I shall certainly consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Mr. McNamara

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his statement a few moments ago and his earlier statements on the anti-terrorist legislation are most welcome? When he has demanded extra powers from this House and has obtained them, he has not failed to underline the basic rights of the citizen, and that attitude has been welcomed. When one bears in mind the unfortunate publicity following events in Belfast, one realises that my right hon. Friend's attitude is most constructive and helpful in dealing with these terrible problems.

Mr. Jenkins

I am grateful for what my hon. Friend says. It is important to preserve a balance. Therefore, I have given certain additional powers to the police, but not related to interrogation. It is appropriate to remind my hon. Friend that the rules on interrogation still apply.