HC Deb 20 June 1974 vol 875 cc662-3
7. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is yet ready to initiate an experimental scheme to monitor and control the incidence of shoplifting in supermarkets, in accordance with the proposals made to him by the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington; and if he would make a statement.

Dr. Summerskill

My noble Friend, the Minister of State, has written to the hon. Member.

Mr. Adley

Does the Minister accept the point that her noble Friend has made in his letter, namely, that he understands the problem but thinks that carrying out an experiment might be administratively difficult? Does she agree that unless we have an experiment we cannot possibly assess the difficulties which may or may not follow if the proposals which have been made can be given wider circulation?

Dr. Summerskill

I accept the fact that the Home Office Standing Committee on Crime Prevention which looked into the suggestion did not think that the hon. Member's experiment was feasible. The committee includes representatives of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce and the National Chamber of Trade. However, it is sympathetic towards a similar scheme—the provision of parking areas for shopping bags in new premises.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not curious that the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley), who belongs to a party dedicated to the sanctity of private property, should now be regarded as the best friend of every shoplifting sneak thief in the country? Why does he always come to their defence?