HL Deb 14 October 1991 vol 531 c97WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to allow reasonable access to police holding centres by members of both Houses of Parliament.

The Paymaster General (Lord Belstead)

Permission to visit holding centres is granted by the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. I understand that it is the chief constable's policy not to approve general visits to such centres. His grounds include the danger of disturbing the running of those centres, and of disrupting police investigation into terrorist crime. These are compelling reasons, and I have therefore no plans to ask the chief constable to reconsider his policy.

The. Government believe, however, that it is right to seek, where possible and practical, to increase public confidence in police procedures, and to this end is committed to making a statutory Code of Practice, under powers in section 61 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991, dealing with the detention, treatment, questioning and identification of persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989. We are also considering the appointment of an independent commissioner to monitor procedures at the holding centres.