§ 9. Mr. Shersby
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances it is permitted for individual police forces to exercise discretion not to post warrants for suspects and bail absconders on the national police computer unless the offences are particularly serious; what consideration he is giving to offenders being pursued by the police in areas other than those in which an alleged offence has been committed; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Howard
It is for chief officers to decide how to respond to individual cases, but there can be no question of offenders escaping justice simply by moving to a different area.
§ Mr. Shersby
I begin by wishing my right hon. and learned Friend a happy birthday. Is he aware of reports that some forces are finding it too expensive to pursue suspects who flee from their home area to another part of the country? Will he consider the possibility of the force in the area to which the suspect has gone dealing with the arrest warrant and the case being heard by a local magistrate in the area concerned?
§ Mr. Howard
I am grateful for my hon. Friend's good wishes. There certainly may be ways in which our present arrangements can be improved, but there can be no excuse for not pursuing offenders who seek to escape justice by moving to different areas. It is the job of the police to make sure that they do not escape justice and that justice is done.