Oral Answers to Questions — Police Inquiries, London

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th May 1947.

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Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North 12:00 am, 15th May 1947

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on whose instructions and for what purpose a police officer at Marble Arch at 11 a.m. on 3rd May inspected the national registration cards and listed the names and addresses of all participants in a poster parade of young people protesting at the death sentences now threatening nine young Spaniards; whether the list so compiled has been retained; and what use it is proposed to make of it.

Photo of Mr George Oliver Mr George Oliver , Ilkeston

I find that a police officer took the names and addresses of some of those taking part in the parade, but was instructed to discontinue doing so, as all that was necessary for the purpose of police arrangements was to ascertain particulars of those in charge of the procession. The information was recorded in the routine police report which it is customary to make on such occurrences; it is not intended to use it for any special purpose.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

If it is not intended to use it for any special purpose, will the Minister undertake to see that it is riot used for any purpose at all?

Photo of Mr George Oliver Mr George Oliver , Ilkeston

The fact that it has been entered in the ordinary records should, I imagine, be sufficient indication that it will not be used for any special purpose.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

Will the Minister undertake that it will not be used to enter up solemnly in the records of the Special Branch as a "Red" every participant in a protest against Fascist murder?

Photo of Mr George Oliver Mr George Oliver , Ilkeston

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman may take it that no abuse would be attached to it.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

Yes, but what is your idea of abuse?

Photo of Mr Thomas Naylor Mr Thomas Naylor , Southwark South East

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason was A. T. Hurst, 108, Mann Street, Southwark, arrested in the early morning of 30th April by two officers of the C.I.D., after he had produced his identity card and service discharge papers, when he was forced into the police motor-car and driven to Bow Street Station without any charge being preferred against him and subsequently released without any apology being offered.

Photo of Mr George Oliver Mr George Oliver , Ilkeston

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that when Mr. Hurst was asked to produce his identity card he refused and said, "Take me to the police station." On the journey, he changed his mind, showed his identity card and satisfied the police officers as to his identity. He was not arrested, he did not enter the police station, and after he had produced his identity card one of the constables apologised for any inconvenience caused.

Photo of Mr Thomas Naylor Mr Thomas Naylor , Southwark South East

Was the Home Secretary informed that when this man was taken up, he said that he thought this was a free country, and the reply came from one of the detective officers, "This is not going to be a free country any more"; further, that when they had conducted their investigations at Bow Street police station, a detective came into the office, after a few hours, and said, "Everything is all right now," when it was all wrong; and that when the man asked to be taken back to the place from whence he had been taken, he was told, in more forcible language than I can express, to "Get down them stairs"?

Photo of Mr George Oliver Mr George Oliver , Ilkeston

The facts which have been given to the Home Secretary are not consistent with the observations of my hon. Friend.