HC Deb 29 April 1976 vol 910 cc539-40
5. Mr. Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further consideration he has given to the manner of publication of statistics of: (a) terrorist offences and (b) arrests, convictions and sentences for such offences, and in particular to clear presentation of the relationship between the two series.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Statistics, including the number of indictable offences known to the police and those cleared up, appear in the Chief Constable's annual report to the Police Authority, which is published. In addition, a report "Statistics on Security", providing a range of security statistics, including persons charged, is issued by my Office on a quarterly basis. These reports are placed in the Library of the House. I am giving consideration to ways of making the quarterly figures more widely available by inclusion in the Official Report.

Mr. Powell

I am grateful for anything that will give a wider diffusion to these statistics, but will the right hon. Gentleman concentrate especially upon methods of presenting the degree of success attained in apprehending and convicting those who arc concerned with offences in a particular period?

Mr. Rees

There is one problem in that last respect which is very important —namely, that it is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. The right hon. Gentleman will recall a very interesting debate on this matter in the House a few weeks ago. I want to see the collation given a wider distribution. To do so through the Official Report is a way in which I can bring it to the attention of right hon. and hon. Members.

Mr. Loyden

I recognise the problems that my right hon. Friend faces in Northern Ireland. I remain on the subject of security, particularly the matters which have been brought about by the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which are not confined to Northern Ireland. Will my right hon. Friend investigate the arrest of James Rutledge, a Liverpool born and bred person who was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act? The obvious implication of his release is that there was no cause for his arrest. Does my right hon. Friend recall that anxiety was expressed by Labour Members about certain aspects of the Prevention of Terrorism Act when it was introduced? The case of James Rutledge clearly demonstrates that anxiety.

Mr. Rees

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this matter. He has every right to raise it, but it is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Unless I have it wrong, the incident did not occur in Northern Ireland and therefore it is not my responsibility.

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