§ Miss Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the light of recent disclosures by the Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Barking, if he will now give a further reply to the questions from several hon. Members relating to the Metropolitan Police computer.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
Replies to previous questions have described the categories of information to be kept in the computer: that is crime; criminals; their associates; and matters connected with national security. I can confirm that, as was stated by an Assistant Commissioner in a recent television programme, to meet the operational needs of the specialist branches of the Metropolitan Police that will contribute data hitherto held in paper records, the information will be grouped as follows fraud, drug offences, other serious crimes, illegal immigration and Special Branch matters.
I believe that there should be full discussion of the principles involved in such 763W matters, within, as I have already made clear, the limits set by national security considerations and the need not to impair police effectiveness in preventing and detecting crime. Chief police officers are making effective contributions to these discussions, and I was aware of the invitation to the Assistant Commissioner to participate in the programme and welcome the fact that he did so.