Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
While welcoming the statement made by the Home Secretary that the prison authorities were neither consulted nor in fact approved the use of foxhounds in this case, may I ask him to say that he does not view with favour the use of foxhounds in such cases, no shortage of police dogs having been reported?
I am not ready to make any observations on this matter. I must leave this case to the discretion of the local constabulary, and in particular to the chief constable involved.
The prisoner Fowler escaped in thick fog from an outside party on 14th May. I see no reason to connect his escape with the subsequent discovery of firearms. As to this, on 13th May a pistol and ammunition were found by a woman cleaner in the lavatory of a train on which prisoners were being conveyed by an escort from Dartmoor to London. On 19th May, the authorities discovered another pistol and ammunition buried in the quarry outside the prison. The prison and police authorities are aware of the possibility that further weapons may have been concealed, and necessary precautions have been taken.
In view of the public anxiety about these escapes, and the unsatisfactory arrangements in the opinion of prison officers, will the Home Secretary undertake an inquiry into whether the present system is satisfactory, so as to ensure that these events cannot occur again?
I understand the anxiety of the hon. Member and of the House about these revelations, but I do not think that an inquiry is necessary, because the Prison Commissioners have already taken most drastic action to deal with the situation. I am not prepared to give publicly particulars of that action, because it would not be in the general interest that I should do so, but I assure the hon. Member that the matter is well in hand and was brought fully to my attention.