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Police (Departmental Memoranda)

Volume 960: debated on Friday 15 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether memoranda for the guidance of the police issued from his office have any standing at law; and whether it is proper for such memoranda to suggest or indicate that the police should or may vary legislation passed by both Houses of Parliament without such variations being sanctioned by both Houses of Parliament.

Circulars or memorandum issued by my Department for the guidance of chief officers of police do not have the force of law. They do not, and could not, convey authority for chief officers of police to vary legislation but may, where appropriate, contain advice on the exercise of discretionary powers conferred by Parliament.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will detail the matters on which a chief officer of police has either the power or discretion to vary legislation passed by both Houses of Parliament.

A chief officer of police has no power to vary legislation, although it may confer a discretion on him.