Page 1, 6th March 1953

6th March 1953
Page 1
Page 1, 6th March 1953 — General lack of rOligion blamed for crime

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Locations: London


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General lack of rOligion blamed for crime


Home Secretary denounces low films and violent 'comics'

THE Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, speaking in London on Saturday at a conference on the Problem of Crime, said there are four most important causes of crime.

"1. Broken and unsatisfactory homes.

"2. Lack of parental control.

"3. The constant picturing of brutal violence in such publications as 'comics,' and the presentation of false values in certain films.

"4. The cessation in the case of a large section of the population of religion having the sanction in practical and daily affairs that it still had even in the

early part of this century."

"Whatever views we may hold about the efficacy of corporal punishment," said the Home Secretary, "I think there can be general agreement that there is no one remedy, whether corporal punishment or any other panacea, which would put an end to, or even by itself do much to reduce, the increase in crime which has caused so much concern to us all in recent years.

General decline

"We must not exaggerate the value of what can be achieved by legislation, by creating new offences or giving new powers to the courts, or by strengthening the police and improving the resources of society for the prevention or detection of crime.

"The prevalence of crime at present is due to a number of deep-rooted causes which are not likely to be removed by any of these remedies or by methods of this kind.

"We must recognise that it is a symptom of a general decline in the standard of morals and integrity in our community and in family life.

"The Government will continue to give anxious thought to the problem and will take any steps which may be open to it, but there is no simple or easy solution,

"In the end the problem is one which can be solved only by a return to higher moral standards in the nation. which cannot be brought about by Parliament or by Ministers and Government departments.

All must help "It needs the help of the Church, the help of employers and trade unions, the help of teachers and all who are responsible for the care of the young; and above all the help of parents.

"It is a change to which each one of us must make his own contribution."

Other points made by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe were: "Compared with before the war, the number of indictable offences in England and Wales—that is, roughly all the more serious crimes and nearly all thefts—known to the police has nearly doubled.

"In 1952 there was a slight improvement but we cannot say whether we are over the worst or not.

'In 1951 there were 6,500 cases of violence against the person, an increase of 139 per cent. as compared with 1938.

Suitable Schools

"Of the big groups, the 350,000 cases of larceny and 95,000 cases of housebreaking were 78 per cent. and 95 per cent. up on 1938."

"There are in all some 130 approved schools which are roughly classified according to the sex, age and religious persuasion of the boys and girls sent there.

"In each region there is a number .of approved schools in each of these categories. As may be expected, each school has speciel characteristics which are being developed to meet the needs of some particular tN pea of boy or girl.

"It is an essential part of the scheme, however, that the most suitable school should be selected according to some central and consistent plan. and that is the function of the classifying schools.


"Here a composite picture of the boy's history, background, needs and potentialities is built up to ensure that he goes to the training school best suited to his needs and that those who will be responsible for him there shall have a comprehensive report about him.

"Classifying schools for boys are now available in several areas—the North-east, the North-west, Wales the South-west and the greater part of the north Midlands.

"The needs of London and the South-east have yet to he met; and it has not so far been found possible to

Continued on page 8

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