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Chief Constable Of Lancashire

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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I beg to ask leave, Mr. Speaker, to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the conduct of the Chief Constable of Lancashire as outlined in the report of the Chief Constable of Hampshire."
This concerns the extremely serious and grave allegations that have been made by Sir Douglas Osmond, the Chief Constable of Hampshire, in a report which, unfortunately, has been widely leaked in the Press in the North-West and which has created a great deal of public controversy and dismay. The report shows that the Chief Constable of Lancashire, amongst other things, intervened in criminal cases at the behest and on behalf of his friends or friends of his friends, that he frequently associated with undesirable characters, and that he used his official car and public manpower for private visits and functions for himself and his family. The lengthy report, which is being published in full in local newspapers, shows a distressing and alarming abuse of powers by the Chief Constable of Lancashire and his potential to abuse those powers further.

This is an important and grave matter of great public importance. The credibility and impartiality of both the police force and the system of justice in Lancashire has been damaged by the activities of the Chief Constable in the revelations contained in the report by the Chief Constable of Hampshire. The morale of the police in Lancashire has been understandably affected.

It is not only a clear and specific case and one of public concern, but it is urgent. The report has been leaked, and it is a common cause of controversy and distress in Lancashire. It raises grave issues about the conduct of the police force as a whole and of the Chief Constable in particular and of several of his officers who have been said to be lying and covering up the abuses of the Chief Constable.

The matter is urgent because there are fears that the issue will be covered up and swept under the carpet. Two members of the police authority are named in the report. Too many local people arc involved in this for it to be dealt with by the Lancashire Police Authority. The issue should be debated in the House so that the Home Secretary can reply to the charges. The Home Secretary should institute a public local inquiry into the activities of the Chief Constable of Lancashire under Section 32 of the Police Act.

I submit that this is a far more serious matter and one that is far more important than the debate we are now to have, which can only exacerbate an industrial dispute.

The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the conduct of the Chief Constable of Lancashire as outlined in the report of the Chief Constable of Hampshire."
The hon. Gentleman gave me notice that he wished to raise this matter today. As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the Order but to give no reasons for my decision. I have to rule that the hon. Member's submission does not fall within the Standing Order and, therefore I cannot submit his submission to the House.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be in order for me to inform my hon. Friend—

I have no doubt that the hon. Member will meet his hon. Friend in a short while.