HC Deb 14 May 1891 vol 353 cc686-8
MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the fact that the number of persons apprehended for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in the Metropolitan Police District has risen from 20,658 in 1887 to 27,358 in 1889, whilst the average number of summonses against "Drink Houses" for the same period has been 146; and if any fresh instructions have been given to the police since 1870 to account for the great falling off in the number of summonses against these houses in years in which drunkenness has, according to the police statistics, largely increased?


I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that no fresh instructions have been issued to the police as to arrests of drunken persons in the Metropolis since 1870. A falling off in the number of summonses against public houses was explained in the Commissioner's Annual Report of 1871, wherein it was stated to be attributable to the satisfactory working of the Wine and Beerhouse Act, 1869, and the Prevention of Crimes Act, and to the proposed legislation in reference to licensed houses, which, no doubt, rendered proprietors more careful.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is correct that in March, 1890, Mr. Albert Backert, of 13 Newnham Street, Whitechapel, called the attention of two policemen on duty (258 and 567 H D) to the fact that 13 men were being served with liquor at the "Coach and Horses," High Street, Whitechapel, after 1 o'clock a.m.; if the police declined to take any notice of the information; if Mr. Backert then wrote to the Commissioner of Police, and if an Inspector subsequently called on Mr. Backert and urged him to let the matter drop; and if he will inquire as to the necessity for a more vigilant administration of the laws for checking drunkenness in some of the Police Districts of the Metropolis?


The answer to the first paragraph is in the affirmative; and to the second paragraph in the negative. The police entered the house. Mr. Backert wrote to the Commissioner, and I am informed that an inquiry followed which showed that there was no evidence on which proceedings could be taken. The men appeared to be personal friends of the landlord. The Chief Inspector called on Mr. Backert and informed him that an inquiry had been made, and that the police did not intend to take action. The Commissioner of Police assures me that every effort is made by the police to check drunkenness, and to enforce the law whenever evidence can be procured to justify proceedings.