Mr. David Adams:
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that air-raid precautions emergency committees throughout the country follow different practices with regard to the admission of the Press and the giving of information to the Press; and whether he will take steps to ensure that arrangements are made for the maximum dissemination of information essential for public safety?
I am aware that there is some diversity of practice in this matter, but much of this is due to the varying degrees of secrecy necessitated on particular occasions by considerations of national defence. My right hon. Friend is anxious to secure dissemination of information to the public to the maximum extent compatible with security, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that the difficulty of reconciling these two interests is often greater than may appear on the surface.
Will the hon. Gentleman look into the practice of issuing statements, to be posted outside town halls, giving the amount of casualties in the Metropolitan police area? Is he aware that many citizens think these notices give the casualties from their particular district and not for the Metropolitan Police area, with the result that there is a considerable amount of alarm?
Will the hon. Gentleman see that when information is given if: is more compatible with the truth than that which was given about the Clyde-side "Blitz" and the casualties incurred there? There is no reason why false information should be given to the public.