HC Deb 23 February 1888 vol 322 c1217
MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the men known as "Emergency men," who accompany the Solicitor for the Clergy Defence Association to and at the tithe distraint sales in Flintshire, have been sworn in as Special Constables; whether at all these seizures and sales they are armed, in addition to the usual police bâtons, with cutlasses and revolvers; if so, whether the carrying of such arms is legal; and, whether the Authorises, and the Home Office especially, approve of these men being so armed?


The Chief Constable of Flintshire informs me that the bailiffs employed at distraint sales in Flintshire were not sworn in as Special Constables, and that he was not aware at the time that they had any arms. He had since ascertained that on one occasion the Solicitor for the Clergy Defence Association and one of his bailiffs each carried a revolver, and some others of the bailiffs had ship cutlasses concealed under their top coats. This was an occasion on which the solicitor received information the evening before a distress, too late to communicate with the police, that he and his men would receive violence from a large gathering of miners. I am not aware that this was illegal. I should certainly disapprove the use of deadly weapons, except in defence of life or in the suppression of riot.

In reply to Mr. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire),


said, he was not aware that the men carried police bâtons.