THE EARL OF MANSFIELD
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are aware that their procrastination in granting greater powers of search, which bath the magistrates and the Chief Constable of Glasgow are requesting, is gravely hampering the police in their efforts both to prevent and detect crime in that city; and whether they will therefore grant these extra powers forthwith.
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND (LORD HUGHES)
The Government are aware of the concern which has been expressed on this issue. While greater powers of search might enable the police more effectively to detect those who carry offensive weapons and thus act as a deterrent, there is also the possibility that their exercise could itself provoke violence and that the relationship between the police and public would suffer. The power to arrest persons suspected of carrying offensive weapons has recently been clarified, and the wider use of these powers, which when used entitle the police to search, may reduce the need for a new power of search. There would also be a practical problem in framing such a new power so as not to affect adversely the existing powers of arrest.
These are some of the questions to which the Government are giving full and urgent consideration before reaching an informed decision on this matter.
House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past six o'clock.