§ 60. Mr. Ian Lloyd
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to on whose authority a statement was issued by chief inspector Jim 237W Hunt that travellers making jocular remarks about the security procedures at Heathrow would be arrested, charged and brought before the court; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that in the course of a regular weekly briefing of the local press, the chief inspector in charge of operations at Heathrow airport, acting with the full authority of the commander of airport district, drew attention to the serious difficulties caused to airport staff and public by a sharp increase recently in the number of calls on the police to deal with suspected bombs. This has included a number of incidents where passengers handing in luggage for screening have claimed that it contained a bomb. Such highly irresponsible acts cause considerable alarm and distress to staff and public and, against the background of recent terrorist activity, all such incidents have to be checked out by the police. In view of this the chief inspector indicated that the police would, in appropriate cases, consider taking action against those making such claims.
It is an offence under section 51(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 for a person to communicate any information which he knows or believes to be false to another person with the intention of inducing in him or any other person a false belief that a bomb or other thing liable to explode or ignite is present in any place or location whatever.