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Judicial CP - May 1966

Corpun file 5907

Evening Times, Glasgow, 13 May 1966

Bring back the birch, say Tories

SCOTTISH Conservative Party delegates cheered and applauded at their conference in Perth to-day as they supported a proposal calling for the re-introduction of the birch to end Glasgow's "reign of terror."

Mr Tom Galbraith, M.P., spoke of "frightened people in Glasgow, who were demanding corporal punishment.

"Some of the press have referred to it as the 'shame' of Glasgow, but it is far more serious than that.

"In many districts, it amounts almost to a reign of terror, and that is why there is all this agitation -- because people are frightened. It is as simple as that."

Mr Galbraith moved an amendment, which was carried by a large majority, to a motion expressing "dismay" at the increasing number of crimes committed by youths.

It call on the Government to introduce corporal punishment for crimes of violence against a person for a trial period of five years.

Mr Albert McQuarrie, of Kilmarnock, who moved the original motion, said that crime and punishment needed a fresh approach. This was not the time to risk giving the impression that they were more concerned with the criminal and his welfare than with the protection of society and its property.


Mr John Marshall, Dundee, supporting the reintroduction of corporal punishment, said that his sister worked in a Glasgow hospital, and more and more cases were being admitted there of people who had been attacked with bottles or knives, and even with hammers and hatchets.

"For too long the criminals of this land have been mollycoddled by society. The sooner we bring back the birch the better."

Staggering total

Mr Ian MacArthur, M.P. for Perth and East Perthshire, said that crimes and offences in Scotland had gone up 10 per cent. in the past two years to the staggering total of 364,000.

The crime rate last year was 140,000, which meant that a crime was committed every three and a half minutes day and night.

The criminal had two chances out of three of getting away scot free. Crime detection was down to 36 per cent.

Corpun file 5906

Evening Citizen, Glasgow, 16 May 1966

Kirk men attack return of birch plan

A CHURCH OF SCOTLAND committee today bitterly attacked any moves towards the return of the birch -- claiming that it would only increase a criminal's hatred towards society.

In a report which will be heard by the General Assembly later this month, the Church and Nations committee stresses: "The only justification for what it regards as a thoroughly retrograde step, would be unmistakable evidence of the deterrent effect of birching. Such evidence is wholly lacking."

On the problems of violence among juveniles the committee says that figures for Glasgow and parts of Dumbartonshire showed a "deteriorating and increasingly serious situation."

The fear

The committee refers to an atmosphere of "fear and intimidation" in which members of the public are made reluctant to co-operate with the police -- making it more difficult for the police to collect evidence.

"This is indeed one of the gravest aspects of the problem as it affects the Glasgow area."

This situation, says the report, in areas suffering from teenage hooliganism and outbreaks of mob violence, had given impetus to a campaign for the re-introduction of birching.

"The committee, while sympathising with the feelings of those who have to live in that situation, cannot give its support to any demand for the re-introduction of the birch."

The committee says that the evidence of birching being a deterrent is wholly lacking and points out: "The available evidence is all the other way -- that the effect is rather to confirm the young criminal in his antagonism to authority and his hatred of the society which imposes such a punishment."

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