HC Deb 20 May 1982 vol 24 cc455-6
3. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, subsequent to Operation Countryman, any further inquiries have been set up into alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. William Whitelaw)

Yes, Sir. Certain other investigations into alleged corruption by police officers have been put in hand by the complaints investigation bureau of the Metropolitan Police and will be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Police Complaints Board as necessary.

Mr. Cox

I welcome the Home Secretary's reply. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, despite all the talk of cleaning up the Metropolitan Police through Operation Countryman, all we got was a cover up? If we wish to tackle the corruption and perjury that we repeatedly hear about, should not the Home Secretary become personally responsible for these inquiries? Should he not begin by appointing a totally independent person, who will not be subject to any form of police pressure, to conduct the inquiries?

Mr. Whitelaw

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's wild allegations. If he has any individual cases to put before me, I hope that he will do so.

Mr. Marlow

Would it not be corrupt for the Metropolitan Police, or any other police force that was up to establishment, to select additional recruits on the basis of race?

Mr. Whitelaw

There is no question of doing so.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Is not the right hon. Gentleman still concerned about the outcome of Operation Countryman, since it clearly did not produce the results intended and did not satisfy the anxieties of people such as Sir Robert Mark? Is it not time that we reconsidered the status of the Metropolitan Police force and perhaps broke it up into four separate forces?

Mr. Whitelaw

I do not think so. Operation Countryman was very important and it made various investigations. We all dwell far too much, in a generalized way, on cases of corruption. It would be unfair to the Metropolitan Police if we did not recognise its outstanding record as a whole.

Mr. Stanbrook

Is it not well known to anyone with any knowledge of such matters that the Metropolitan Police is the least corrupt—

Mr. Flannery

Nonsense. Sir Robert Mark did not say that.

Mr. Stanbrook

—of any of the police forces in the capital cities of the Western world?

Mr. Whitelaw

The British police service as a whole—including the Metropolitan Police—has a very high record, which would bear comparison with any police service in the world.