asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the increase in crimes of violence, especially upon bank officials, traders and those in charge of wages, what new action he proposes to take; if he will introduce legislation to restore corporal punishment for such crimes; and if he will make a statement.
As I told the hon. Member on 12th November, I am at present conducting a review of methods of combating crime. Within their present resources, the police do all they can to combat these crimes of violence. Recent studies by the Police Research and Planning Branch of the Home Office are directed towards reducing them. I have no intention of proposing legislation to reintroduce corporal punishment as a judicial penalty.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that the public differs from him on this issue—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and that in view of the increasing number and of the brutality of these attacks by thugs on innocent citizens the people desire that sterner punishments should be introduced? Will not he give it a trial for five years to see what happens?
I do not think that the public at large disagree with me at all on the view which I have expressed. I think that the general feeling of the public is strongly against corporal punishment.
Whilst all of us deprecate the increase in crimes of violence, may I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether he does not think that we should pursue more constructive approaches than those suggested? May I ask, especially, whether he will call for an early report of the inquiry of the impact of television on juvenile delinquency? Would this not assist us rather than the ridiculous methods of violence against violence?
I think the right course is for me to do everything that I can to strengthen the police, to reconsider the methods that they have at their disposal, both scientific means and manpower means, and to do everything I possibly can to put them in a better position to combat crime.