HC Deb 24 June 1982 vol 26 c427
20. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received urging an independent police complaints procedure.

Mr. Whitelaw

I have received representations from hon. Members and others in favour of changes in the present arrangements, a few proposing a wholly independent system of investigation.

Mr. Alton

Does the Home Secretary accept that one of the major causes of the disturbances in many of our cities last year was the feeling among many of those participating that they could not get a fair hearing when they had a complaint against the police? Does he agree that we need urgently an independent police complaints procedure?

Mr. Whitelaw

I do not accept for one moment the premise of the hon. Gentleman's first point. On the second point, I have made it clear to the House that we are studying the report of the Select Committee on Home Affairs. I am having discussions with all the police organisations and I shall come forward to the House in due course with proposals.

Mr. Jessel

Would it not be better to set up a procedure for praising the police?

Mr. Whitelaw

I am delighted to say that many people do that already, but I wish that some people would pay slightly less attention to complaints, which are getting slightly out of proportion.

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