§ 6. Sir G. Fox
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding the recent use of R.A.F. aeroplanes for hunting criminals; on how many previous occasions has this practice been adopted; and if it is now his intention to institute flying police.
§ Mr. Ede:
I assume that the hon. Member has in mind a recent incident in the East Riding of Yorkshire, in which the Royal Air Force gave valuable help to the police by spotting an escaped prisoner and keeping him under observation from the air until he was re-arrested, after his whereabouts had been reported to the police by a member of the public. I have no complete information as to the number of occasions on which similar help has been given in the past.
As regards the last part of the Question, the number of occasions on which the police may need to use aircraft is unlikely to be large and would not in my view justify the establishment o; a special flying arm of any police force; this incident has shown that the police can, in any such contingency, rely upon the help and cooperation of the Royal Air Force, and I am sure that it will be best for them to continue to do so.