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Private Security Forces

Volume 656: debated on Thursday 29 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to controlling, whether by licence or otherwise, the growth of private security forces, some of which wear uniforms very similar to statutory police forces.

There is already a provision in the law prohibiting the unauthorised use of police uniform or of any dress having the appearance of police uniform. The enforcement of this provision is a matter for the chief officer of police concerned. I am doubtful if any further legislation is called for, but I am watching the situation.

While thanking the Home Secretary for agreeing to watch the situation, may I ask whether he is not aware that many thousands of men are being recruited for these private police groups? Does not this raise many grave issues of public policy, especially when some of them are armed and some of them wear uniforms which are almost indistinguishable from police uniforms? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that any Tom, Dick or Harry can start a security force of strong-armed boys and hire them out to industrial concerns? Should he not consult the Police Federation and perhaps the Trades Union Congress in the light of this ominous development?

I said that I was watching the situation. I will bear in mind what the hon. Member has said.