HC Deb 15 November 1979 vol 973 cc1483-4
6. Mr. Temple-Morris

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he considers that the amount of police time spent on road traffic offences could be reduced.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Leon Brittan)

While it must be for individual chief officers to decide how best to use the manpower available to them, I hope that the working party which the Government have decided to set up, to review fixed penalties and other aspects of traffic law, will be able to suggest ways of saving police time.

Mr. Temple-Morris

The Minister and his right hon. Friend are to be congratulated on the review which they have set up, but is the Minister aware that this is limited to fixed penalties and that there is also the possibility of a points demerits system?

What has the Minister to say about two things which are absent from the review—first, any consideration of a spot penalty system and, secondly, the abuse, which is very prevalent in this country at the moment, of the HORT 1 system, namely, the presentation of driving documents at a police station within five days? Does he not think that at least the compulsory carrying of driving documents might be considered in this review?

Mr. Brittan

The question of spot penalties raises wider issues than would be possible within a review of this kind. The carrying of driving licences and their presentation are primarily matters for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.

In setting up the review, we have been very much assisted by the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Mr. Temple-Morris), who has looked into these matters and himself produced a report on them.

Mr. Hill

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that this may be an opportune time at which to set up two separate forces—one to concentrate completely on traffic regulations and offences, and the other to deal with major crimes? It would seem to be an ideal solution to incorporate the traffic warden system into this traffic force.

Mr. Brittan

I am a little sceptical of suggestions concerning major reorganisations of that kind, because they nearly always lead to more expenditure and less efficiency. But we shall certainly want to consider what my hon. Friend has said.

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