HC Deb 12 July 1982 vol 27 c642
48. Mr. Canavan

asked the Attorney-General when he last discussed the prosecution system with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Attorney-General (Sir Michael Havers)

I have regular meetings with the Director of Public Prosecutions when matters relating to the Director's office are discussed.

Mr. Canavan

In view of the Select Committee report on police complaints procedure, will the Attorney-General bear in mind that a Scottish procurator fiscal system, although probably better than the system in England and Wales, falls far short of a fully independent system for dealing with complaints against the police? Does the Attorney-General agree that such complaints would be far better dealt with by a special ombudsman with supporting staff?

The Attorney-General

I have discussed the aspect involving the Director of Public Prosecutions with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, but ultimately it is his decision, not mine.

Mr. George Cunningham

As these matters are the responsibility of the Attorney-General, does he agree that there is an increasing number of people in England who believe that the public prosecutor system ought to be established in England, not necessarily precisely on the lines recommended by the Royal Commission, but at least with the ingredient that there is an independent authority for bringing prosecutions separate from the police?

The Attorney-General

I should like to see every police force with its own criminal prosecuting system which, if it disagreed with the chief constable, could go to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision. I do not believe that a national prosecuting system is necessarily the right way of going about it.

Mr. Lawrence

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say how soon it will be before all prosecution statements are served upon defendants in cases that come before the magistrates' courts?

The Attorney-General

That matter is still under consideration. I am not able to give my hon. and learned Friend any further information at the moment.

Mr. Pavitt

In his discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied about the way in which possible prosecutions of people who issue racist statements that militate against integration of the ethnic minorities are being carried out?

The Attorney-General

I think that the hon. Gentleman if referring to section 5(A), which is the amended section of the Public Order Act 1936. In fact, we have prosecuted in more cases over the past 12 months and have obtained a much higher rate of conviction than previously. We hope that that process will continue.