HC Deb 15 February 1983 vol 37 cc153-4
20. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make it his policy not to undertake further actions such as Operation Major which took place in Oxford on 2 September.

Mr. Rossi

No, Sir. While our policy is to try to prevent such situations arising, the Department must always be prepared to take effective and necessary action to counter serious or organised fraud.

Mr. Bennett

In a recent Adjournment debate the Minister claimed credit for what he thought went right in the operation and blamed the police for those elements that went wrong. When will he meet the Thames Valley police to discuss the joint operation and ensure that the mistakes that occurred then do not occur again?

Mr. Rossi

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, the police have already said that while the matter is sub judice, because there are still cases outstanding, they are not prepared to make the matter public.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Is not what is presently known of Operation Major a sufficient indictment of the attitude of the police and social security officers for the Minister to intervene to ensure that the team that is now going round the country, and that has reached my constituency, behaves itself in future and acts in accordance with natural justice?

Mr. Rossi

The police have already made it public that they regard the statements about that operation to be completely inaccurate and unreliable.