Policing (London)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 28th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Richard Tracey Mr Richard Tracey , Surbiton 12:30 pm, 28th June 1985

I shall certainly respond to the hon. Gentleman's comment about the film. I do not care whether the phrase is featured in a poem or in a playlet in the film. For the producers of the film to put it there is the exercise of dramatic licence gone mad. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the film is to be shown to children in ILEA schools.

I go further. A motion was tabled for discussion at a meeting of the Greater London council calling upon the council to withdraw the video featuring the phrase "Communities must rebel." It was described as being tantamount to inciting violence and hatred. Mr. Paul Boateng, whom we know only too well and who wishes to come to the House as the Member of Parliament for Brent, South following the next general election, tabled an amendment deleting the words criticising the video and saying that the council continues to ensure, through all means open to it, including the production of videos like 'Policing London', that information about the policing of London is available in the most graphic and accessible forms to all the people of London. That is the attitude adopted by Mr. Boateng in respect of that insidious video. In his view, it should be shown to children in the schools of inner London, among them my own children. As a parent, I detest that attitude. But I am not surprised that Mr. Boateng holds the views that he does, because he has gone even further. In The Standard of 18 September 1984, Mr. Boateng was directly quoted on the subject of justices of the peace in London. He said: We must now make magistrates accountable to the Party. That doesn't mean they will refer every decision to the Party but the quality of their justice will be measured. They will have to accept the line on Party justice. That is typical of the attitude of the Greater London council and of the chairman of its police committee. I invite the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) to repudiate Mr. Boateng's attack on magistrates and the message that communities must rebel which is about to be put before our children in the GLC's video about the police.

The best way to encourage our children to work with and co-operate with the police in our communities, which is the finest way to bring about effective policing and law and order in the metropolis, is to adopt the course that one finds in some parts of London, where the police go to schools and talk to children and attend other public events. Home beat officers attend events and talk to children and adults about their work. Mounted policemen attend with their horses, as do police drivers and motor cyclists. They try to interest the public in their work. Those events will help to bring about co-opertation and to educate the public properly about the work of the police.

I endorse the comment of the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright) that the police must be seen on housing estates and that borough councils must encourage the police to come on to estates and to communicate with the public to seek co-operation.