Mr Richard Sharples: I am not giving way.
Mr Richard Sharples: All right.
Mr Richard Sharples: I stick to what I said. If there are threats to the security of this country, that is a matter for the security forces to deal with and is not a matter to be discussed in public. If, on the other hand, there are criminal matters supported by evidence, those are dealt with in this country not by public opinion but by the courts and the police in the proper way according to our laws. That is...
Mr Richard Sharples: Not at all.
Mr Richard Sharples: Over the years I have heard allegations of infiltration into organisations by people from various quarters. I stick to what I said; that if there is infiltration which concerns the security of the country, then it is a matter for the security service and is not one which I am prepared to discuss in public. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Fowler), in referring to the...
Mr Richard Sharples: What has struck me at the Home Office, where one is dealing with a large number of cases, is that practically every case is completely different. Only rarely does one find cases of the same circumstances or difficulty. But, as I say, if the hon. Gentleman has a particular case I will certainly look at it. The hon. Gentleman referred also to community relations. I am sure that he will have...
Mr Richard Sharples: I am glad the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) has raised this matter, and I am grateful to him for the spirit in which he has done so. The removal of the Immigration and Nationality Department to Croydon, including the Public Inquiry Office, is important to all those here, or who will come in the future, who are subject to immigration control. I admire the zeal and...
Mr Richard Sharples: We have looked at this possibility in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, and we have been forced to the conclusion that Croydon is the right place for the department. The inquiry office has to be in the same building as the rest of the department so that the officers in it can have access to papers and to their colleagues who deal with case work, and so that as many...
Mr Richard Sharples: I wrote to the hon. Member yesterday.
Mr Richard Sharples: My understanding is that a notification is sent to relatives and that in that way relatives are informed. There is a difference between that and the publication of a list of names, which might not always be in the interest of the person interned.
Mr Richard Sharples: A replica capable of firing would be subject to control under the Firearms Act, 1968. On the information before my right hon. Friend, he is not satisfied that it is necessary or practicable to control other replicas.
Mr Richard Sharples: A replica which is capable of firing is subject to control under the Firearms Act, 1968. So far as other replicas are concerned, the difficulty lies in defining what is a replica—for example, whether a child's toy pistol is a replica. Surely the right course is to concentrate on the use to which the weapon or replica is put. The penalties for misuse are being considerably increased under...
Mr Richard Sharples: Yes, and that is the reason why steps have been taken in the Criminal Justice Bill to increase the penalties considerably.
Mr Richard Sharples: The analogy is not exact. My right hon. Friend remains to be persuaded of the justification for such a change.
Mr Richard Sharples: There will be an opportunity, if the House wishes, on the Local Government Bill to discuss this matter in relation to local elections. Wider considerations come into operation when one considers parliamentary elections.
Mr Richard Sharples: I am sure that my hon. Friend heard that suggestion.
Mr Richard Sharples: My right hon. Friend has considered them carefully, along with comments from local and police authorities concerned. The Joint Branch Board has been informed that he would not feel justified in proposing the combination of the West and South Yorkshire metropolitan counties for police purposes.
Mr Richard Sharples: The policy is that each new county should have its own force except when a new county is too small to secure its own efficient policing by modern standards. Each amalgamation scheme has been considered carefully by my right hon. Friend and myself. In certain cases we have reached conclusions but in others the conclusions still have to be announced.
Mr Richard Sharples: My right hon. Friend has had a talk with Police Federation representatives. He has considered very carefully the views which were put forward and is anxious to reduce the disruption to a minimum. None the less, the principle must remain that police authority areas must be related to local authority areas.
Mr Richard Sharples: Where the occupants of domestic accommodation are at unusual risk in the event of fire, for example in high blocks of flats, legislation already exists to secure means of escape. My right hon. Friend sees no need for the legislation proposed.