§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether information regarding the number of convictions during the last 650 two years of persons charged with wearing military decorations and medals without authorization is not available at the Home Office, and if they can now state the number of prosecutions during the same period under Section 156A (3) of the Army Act.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA AND BURMA (THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, this information is not available at the Home Office. For general purposes the statistical records of all offences against the Army Act have been kept upon one classification. There is therefore no ready means of identifying offences against a particular section. I would refer my noble friend to the answer given on March 10 this year, and I can only repeat that the information asked for could not be obtained without an expenditure of labour wholly disproportionate to the importance of the question.
§ LORD DAVIES
Arising out of that reply may I ask the noble Duke whether it would be possible to reconsider the present system by which these offences are tabulated so that the information may be available at a later date?
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I think it is not impossible to reconsider arrangements, but I think also it is most improbable in these times that any over-worked officials are going to do a considerable amount of extra work on a matter which is comparatively unimportant.