§ 58. Sir T. Beamish
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the number of people who died in each of the last 10 years as the outcome of an assault on them; and on what basis he distinguishes in compiling statistics between people who are murdered and people who die as the result of assault.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the total numbers of victims of murder, manslaughter, infanticide and child destruction. An offence is recorded as murder if the police consider that the ingredients of murder according to the law appear to be present, but if a court returns an alternative verdict the offence is reclassified accordingly.
The following are the numbers of offences (in terms of victims) of murder, manslaughter, infanticide and child destruction known to the police in England and Wales:
1958 … … … … 263 1959 … … … … 267 1960 … … … … 282 1961 … … … … 266 1962 … … … … 300 1963 … … … … 307 1964 … … … … 300 1965 … … … … 325 1966 … … … … 364 1967 … … … … 413
These figures exclude a very small number of offences initially recorded as 152W murder but subsequently reduced to an offence other than those referred to above. In general, the figures include charges resulting in acquittal.
§ 59. Sir T. Beamish
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what respect the practice of distinguishing between murder and death following an assault has varied in this century for the purposes of computing the number of people murdered in any one year; if he is satisfied with the accuracy of the present practice; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Callaghan
During the present century the basis on which offences are counted as murder has, so far as I am aware, changed only in reflection of changes in the law of murder, in particular those brought about by the Infanticide Acts, 1922 and 1938, and the Homicide Act, 1957. As a consequence of these Acts, a number of offences that would formerly have been murder became infanticide or manslaughter and are counted accordingly in the Criminal Statistics. I am satisfied that the murder statistics are as accurate as it is practicable to make them.