HC Deb 03 March 1983 vol 38 cc356-7
3. Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the committee on the public prosecutions service to report.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)

The working party on prosecution arrangements expects to report in the summer.

Mr. Lyon

As there is cross-party support for this proposition, and as it was recommended by the Royal Commission, would it not be better for it to be implemented in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill instead of giving extra powers to the police that are outside any degree of control until the reform is made?

Mr. Mayhew

I do not think so, as the hon. Gentleman knows from our deliberations in Committee. It is important to get this right. My right hon. Friend has appointed the working party. He has taken three interim steps to pave the way, including guidelines from the Attorney-General. This is an important matter that we need to get right.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Does the Minister accept that it would help to assuage some of the real fears about the new powers being given to the police if there were an independent Crown prosecutor service as suggested by the Royal Commission? Will he bring forward such proposals at the earliest possible moment?

Mr. Mayhew

The hon. Gentleman is right to some extent, but we cannot have everything as soon as we want it. We need to get it right. We shall have it as soon as we possibly can, but it is important that, when we get it, it is as right as it can be.