HC Deb 16 July 1981 vol 8 cc429-30W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the changed circumstances since the Bristol riots, following the incidents at Forest Gate, Finsbury Park, Toxteth, Southall, Wood Green and elsewhere, he will give further consideration to the police being issued with sprays containing non-toxic indelible dye, such as permanganate of potash, or similar, to enable the police to identify, after the event, people present at the riots.

Mr. Whitelaw

The working group on protective clothing and equipment for the police is considering this. The use of such sprays is an operations) matter for chief officers of police.

Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he has that under-age drinking was a factor in the riots in Toxteth and Moss Side; and if he will make specific and careful inquiry into this aspect of the disturbances.

Mr. Whitelaw

I am asking the chief constables of Merseyside and Greater Manchester for reports on this matter.

Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what compensation can be claimed by shopkeepers who are not insured for damage arising from street disturbances; whether he has information as to the length of time the police will take to deal with claims; and if he will consider special payments being made in the case of non-insurance where the individual owner of a shop which has been damaged shows that such help is needed to continue trading.

Mr. Whitelaw

The Riot (Damages) Act 1886 sets out the conditions in which compensation may be paid for damage to shops and their contents. The time taken for payment will depend on the circumstances of each case, but the local authorities concerned are aware of the importance of giving sympathetic consideration to making payments on account in proven cases of need.

Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what local authority areas there were riots in the two weeks prior to 16 July.

Mr. Mayhew

Since 3 July the areas in which disturbances of differing degrees of seriousness have occurred include Bedfordshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Greater London, Hampshire, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Merseyside, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Mr. John Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the disturbances in Brixton on 10–11 July are to be treated as a riot for damages purposes.

Mr. Whitelaw

It is open to members of the public to submit claims for damage which they consider may fall within the terms of the Act. But it is for the receiver of the Metropolitan Police district to determine whether claims satisfy the statutory conditions.

Mr. Grylls

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Departments in the light of the recent civil disorders, what provision he is making for extra places in (a) detention centres, (b) borstal and(c) remand centres; and when he expects these extra places to be ready.

Mr. Whitelaw

I have taken immediate action to redistribute the prison population to provide wherever possible adequate plans for remand prisoners.

I am making additional detention centre accommodation urgently available at Lowdham Grange open borstal, near Nottingham, and at Erlestoke House prison, Devizes, Wiltshire. They should be ready for occupation in the next few days. They will together provide 190 places for detention centre trainees.

I am ready to take what other action is necessary to provide accommodation for those sentenced to prison or borstal training as a result of the disturbances.

Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were injured in the recent rioting in Liverpool; and what was the nature of the injuries.

Mr. Mayhew

I understand from the chief constable of Merseyside that 468 police officers incurred injuries of varying degrees of seriousness. On 14 July, 164 were still absent from duty, including seven detained in hospital.

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