HC Deb 03 February 1977 vol 925 cc727-8
9. Mr. Hastings

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire about the case of the former P.C. Betteridge of the Bedfordshire Police; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. John

I have nothing to add to the reply that my right hon. Friend gave to a similar Question by the hon. Gentleman on 18th November.

Mr. Hastings

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Home Office still refuses to give the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire any explanation of the extraordinary judgment of the Home Secretary's predecessor in this case? Is he aware that in a debate in June, in another place, it was clear that Mr. Jenkins had discussed his reasons in detail with my noble Friend Lord Hailsham, who gave it as his opinion that it would be much better if they were given in public? Moreover, Mr. Jenkins discussed his reasons yet again at his New Bridge Lecture in July, yet any explanation is denied to the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire. Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the only thing he can do to clear up this unfortunate matter, which is a grave and deep injustice to a senior police officer, is to go into the case again and offer the Chief Constable some reason for Mr. Jenkins overturning his judgment?

Mr. John

The hon. Gentleman has me in difficulties when he says that the New Bridge Lecture gave the reasons but that people are unaware of them. The lecture was published, and if the reasons were then given presumably all those affected could read them and glean those reasons for themselves. The previous Home Secretary said that he would consider for the future whether reasons could be given. We are considering this matter, but, as the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, it does raise some important and difficult problems. We have not come to a final conclusion.