Police (Assistance from Public)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19 November 1964.

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Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West 12:00, 19 November 1964

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the ways in which members of the public could give further assistance to the police in the discharge of their duties.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Under common law it is the duty of members of the public to help a constable in preventing or dealing with a breach of the peace when called upon to do so. The support of the public is at all times essential to the police, and quite apart from possible breaches of the peace, the public can help the police in a very practical way by reporting anything suspicious and by taking precautions to safeguard their own property.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

I am sure that the House is grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will he bear in mind that members of the public would often like to help but are not quite sure how they can? Will he keep this subject continually under review? He will recall the great interest that the Lord Mayor of Bristol has been taking in the subject.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Would it not help the police and the cause of justice generally if newspapers glamourised criminals and lay-abouts rather less than they do?