Metropolitan Police

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Norman Atkinson Mr Norman Atkinson , Tottenham 12:00 am, 6th June 1985

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider the setting up of a study commission for the purpose of assessing the possibility of transferring control of the Metropolitan police to an elected body

Photo of Mr Norman Atkinson Mr Norman Atkinson , Tottenham

Why does the Home Secretary so tenaciously resist the demands of Londoners to democratise the accountability of the Metropolitan police9 He has authorised the expenditure of about £760 million He is now setting up consultative committees which, he says, have no right to intervene in the non-operative affairs of the London police or to interfere in policy matters so they can say nothing about that expenditure—justified or not—of £760 million

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

I do not agree with the hon Gentleman's suggestion, because nothing could be more dangerous to the liberties of this country than to hand over the police of London to political control

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest

Will my right hon and learned Friend continue to uphold the constitutional independence of chief officers of police, not only in London but throughout the country?

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

Certainly The principle applies throughout the country

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

If the Home Secretary is not willing to consider handing the police in London over to an elected authority, will he consider handing them over to at least a partly elected authority, in line with the discussions going on about other powers in the context of the GLC abolition Bill being considered in the other place between Ministers and Conservative peers?

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

I am not quite sure what the hon. Gentleman is alluding to, but I do not propose any changes in the arrangements for the policing of London.