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Police Officers (Prosecution)

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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asked the Attorney-General when he next intends to meet the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss arrangements for the prosecution of police officers.

The Attorney-General has frequent meetings with the Director of Public Prosecutions, at which he discusses individual cases of any nature as well as aspects of prosecuting policy.

Is the police officer who shot Mrs. Groce to be prosecuted, and if not, why not?

As the hon. Gentleman will know, a report is being prepared into that tragic occurance by the assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire. The steps to be taken thereafter will naturally depend upon the content of that report, among other things.

Is my hon. and learned Friend satisfied that when files are referred by local police authorities to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions those files are dealt with in the office at arm's length and not by individuals who are known to the alleged miscreants? Will my hon. and learned Friend make inquiries in a particular matter to which I have drawn his attention and satisfy himself that that matter was dealt with at arm's length, and write to me about it?

The answer to my hon. Friend's second question is yes.

With regard to my hon. Friend's first question, I am certain that the director wishes to ensure that any investigation carried out in his Department takes place without any handicap whatever. I shall draw his attention to my hon. Friend's question.

May I wish the Attorney-General a speedy recovery.

Is the Solicitor-General satisfied with progress concerning the staffing of prosecutions generally? Is he aware of the deep and widespread concern about the salaries and career structure of the new prosecution service, which are not felt by the profession to be anywhere near the assurances that were given in the course of the proceedings on the Bill? Will he, before it is too late, go back to the Treasury to obtain the sort of salaries and career structure with which to start an independent prosecution service that is worthy of the name and able to attract first-class people?

I am most grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his good wishes to the Attorney-General, as I am sure the Attorney-General will be.

I agree that we all want an independent prosecution service, which will operate upon terms and conditions that will attract, retain and motivate people of the high quality that are needed. I note the expressions of anxiety to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred. I shall be seeing the trade union group again tomorrow.