Accused Persons

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking 12:00 am, 20th July 1967

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will give instructions to the prison authorities that handcuffs are not to be used for persons on their way to stand trial unless there is a reasonable apprehension that they may attempt to escape.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave on 11th July to a Question by the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon).—[Vol. 750, c. 62–3.]

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

As I have not got that Answer before me, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether she agrees that if the police themselves say that there has been every co-operation from an accused person he should not be handcuffed, as has been known to happen in certain cases?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

It is the duty of the governor himself to take the decision according to the circumstances. The governor is given general guidance in prison standing orders, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. It is his responsibility when a prisoner is being moved to decide whether or not handcuffs should be used.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

Having regard to the Home Secretary's Answer to me about a particular case, is it not clear that the instructions need some kind of revision? Do not they include a provision to the effect that if one prisoner is handcuffed all the others in the same batch must be handcuffed too? Is not this much too severe and liable to lead to unnecessary humiliation?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

These regulations were revised only in April of this year. We will certainly look at them again to see whether they need further revision.