Police Billets (Westhoughton).

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Trade Dispute. – in the House of Commons on 15th July 1926.

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Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

6.

asked the Home Secretary the number of police constables and officers transferred to the Westhoughton township for special duties; how many are billeted at the local Conservative club premises; what are the terms upon which they are billeted there; how long is it proposed to retain them in the township; whether efforts have been made to find billets for them elsewhere; and whether he will now take steps to remove them from the Conservative club premises and place them altogether outside the possibility of political influence?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

The total number of men transferred to Westhoughton is one inspector, three sergeants and 36 constables, of whom one inspector, two sergeants and 32 constables are accommodated at the premises mentioned. 1s. per day is charged for each man for the sleeping accommodation; meals are obtained elsewhere. The chief constable cannot say how long it may be necessary to retain the men in the township: he has been unable to find suitable accommodation elsewhere.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the right hon. Gentleman impress upon the Chief Constable of Lancashire that he should endeavour to find room for these officers elsewhere; and is he aware that some of the officers who are operating in Westhoughton have found places outside the town?

Photo of Sir Herbert Nield Sir Herbert Nield , Ealing

Has the right hon. Gentleman received any complaint from these constables as to their environment?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

None whatever. As regards the Supplementary Question of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Davies) he has been in the Home Office and he knows that one has to be careful in regard to chief constables who are independent officers. I can only ask them for information, and I have received the information. I can also transmit a complaint, and, if the hon. Member has any complaint from any member of this force, then of course I will transmit it to the Chief Constable.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Doncaster

Does the hon. Gentleman think it desirable that police officers should be billeted in a political club to whatever party it may belong?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

They must be billeted somewhere and it is always difficult, as the hon. Member knows, to get billets for police officers and others away from their own homes. This was the most convenient place in which to billet them, and there have been other cases of men being billeted in other clubs of other political parties and there has been no complaint.

Photo of Sir William Brass Sir William Brass , Clitheroe

Has the right hon. Gentleman any control of the police outside the Metropolitan Police area?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Yes, I have a certain control. There is a financial relationship between the Government and the police outside the area and where there is a financial relationship there is always a certain amount of control.

Photo of Sir William Brass Sir William Brass , Clitheroe

Are we to understand then that the right hon. Gentleman can answer questions relating to police outside the Metropolitan area?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Mr. Speaker will consider the relevancy of any question which may be put.

Photo of Colonel Herbert Woodcock Colonel Herbert Woodcock , Liverpool Everton

Is it not better as these men have to be billeted in a dub that it should be in a Conservative club.