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Coalfield Communities (Policing)

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with chief officers of police about policing problems since the ending of the coal miners' strike.

I continue to keep in touch with chief officers about the policing of areas which were affected by disorder during the miners' strike.

Does the Home Secretary intend to consider the lessons that can be drawn from the policing of the miners' strike and the great variety of operational practices found among the different police forces? Does he plan to give the House the benefit of his views on that subject before he publishes his paper on public order?

That will not be possible, because I hope to publish my paper on public order very soon. The examination of the operational lessons to be learnt from the strike is being continued by the Association of Chief Police Officers, and it will not be completed within that time scale.

When the Home Secretary discusses the miners' strike with chief constables, will he make it his business to hold in-depth talks on the mountainous cost of policing that strike? That cost is a terrific burden for ratepayers, and rate-capped authorities consequently find themselves in great financial difficulty. What does the Home Secretary intend to do about that?

The Home Secretary is not going to do anything about it, because he has done something about it. He has announced enormous assistance to police authorities which have had to incur costs on an unprecedented scale. During the strike I announces a series of measures which have cumulatively led to enormous help being given to those authorities which have had to incur that burden.

Why is it taking so long to investigate complaints against the police? I made a complaint in December 1984 and that investigation has still not been completed.

The length of time depends on the complexity of the issues that have to be looked into. However, if the hon. Lady feels that there has been an undue delay, I should be happy to look into her case.

Can the Home Secretary be more explicit about the date of publication of the White Paper? The Prime Minister said in November 1984 that it would be published before the end of the year. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has just said, I think, that it is to be published in the next few weeks. Does he mean that?