HC Deb 22 May 1986 vol 98 cc520-1
6. Dr. Godman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will discuss with chief constables and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis the co-ordination of police intelligence and information in crimes involving the abduction of children.

Mr. Giles Shaw

In December 1982, following the Byford report on the case of the Yorkshire ripper, procedures were introduced to ensure the fullest police co-operation and co-ordination of activity in the investigation of apparently linked major offences, including cases of child abduction. These procedures use specially developed and compatible force computer systems to store and analyse information. We are satisfied that they meet operational requirements.

Dr. Godman

With regard to part II of the Child Abduction Act 1984, is the Minister satisfied that close regard is paid by English police authorities to Scottish court orders? Does he agree that this is especially important at English airports and seaports?

Mr. Shaw

I fully understand the hon. Gentleman's point. I should like further details of individual cases where he thinks that that is not being correctly done. I assure him that the procedures are being tightened up and that police forces now have compatible systems of communication to enable this to happen quickly.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

The number of children who go missing each year is a matter of great concern. More than 20,000 children went missing in 1984, many of whom were abducted. Should not my hon. Friend promote a missing persons register for children, to include details of the circumstances in which they went missing or were abducted, so that the circumstances of the crime can be compared and a crime pattern analysis unit developed along the lines of the one that is working so well at Hendon?

Mr. Shaw

I am well aware of my hon. Friend's substantial interest in this subject. However, I have explained to him that it is unnecessary for police national computer systems to be altered to provide adequate data for proper crime pattern analysis. I remind him that in 1984 there were 99 cases of child abduction, of which 71 per cent. were cleared up quite quickly.