asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present policy of his Department in granting firearms certificates for the purpose of enabling banks and other organisations to provide armed guards when valuable property is being transported in the Metropolitan area.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his Question on 25th January.
Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that, although there is growing concern about the number of highway robberies, for bank guards to carry firearms would be generally regarded as a retrograde step likely to provoke criminals also to carry firearms? Does his reply mean that he proposes to withdraw certificates already granted for the use of firearms by bank guards?
I endeavoured to explain in my Written Answer on 25th January that under the Statute the decision whether such a certificate should be given rests with the chief officer of police. The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis acts on the view, with which I agree, that in general firearms are not a suitable means of protection in these cases. At the present moment, that is the statutory position.