Police and Criminal Evidence Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:15 pm on 4th May 1983.

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Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells 10:15 pm, 4th May 1983

Very well, especially the detention recommendation. Some have said that we should not implement any part of the Royal Commission's recommendations until we have introduced both tape recording and a system of independent prosecuting. I have always considered that to be an entirely wrong appreciation of the Royal Commission's approach. It has been said that the recommendations form a package and that the commission intended the entire package to be introduced at once. I felt that that fox was shot convincingly the other day in a letter to The Times by the chairman of the Royal Commission, Sir Cyril Philips, about the most impressive of marksmen in this context, in which he said: Much essential further work was deliberately left to the Home Office, to the Attorney-General's Department, and to the legal and parliamentary draftsmen, including, for example, the reform in detail of the police complaints system and the formulation of codes of practice to govern interrogation and identification.In putting forward the Bill in its present form, whilst at the same time indicating its commitment to the principle of tape-recording interviews subject to further experiment, the Government is proceeding consistently within the general approach. In an earlier paragraph he said: This line of criticism appears to assume that the reform of the whole of pre-trial criminal procedure, including both investigation and prosecution. could and should be comprehended in one and the same statute. I am bound to say that this was never assumed by the Royal Commission and as chairman I did not regard it as practicable. That seems to be the most convincing refutation of that line of criticism that it is possible to imagine.