HC Deb 21 April 1982 vol 22 cc95-6W
Mr. Mates

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Lord Diplock has submitted his second report on the interception of communications; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitelaw

Lord Diplock has submitted his second report to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. His general conclusion was that during the year 1981 the procedures for the interception of communications had continued to work satisfactorily and the principles set out in the White Paper "The Interception of Communications in Great Britain" (Cmnd. 7873) had been conscientiously observed by all Departments concerned.

Lord Diplock has recommended a change in the definition of serious crime. In the White Paper, serious crime is defined as an offence for which a man with no previous record could reasonably be expected to be sentenced to three years' imprisonment, with two exceptions for offences involving either a large number of people or the use of violence. Lord Diplock has proposed that there should be a third exception to cover offences which would not necessarily attract a penalty of three years' imprisonment on first conviction, or involve a large number of people or violence, but in which the financial rewards of success are very large. I have accepted Lord Diplock's recommendation.

This statement is made in accordance with my undertaking to make known Lord Diplock's general findings and any changes based on recommendations in his report which will not itself be published.