§ MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the large number of policemen drafted into Durham from Yorkshire and Lancashire, whether he will inform the House on what grounds these extra policemen were drafted into the county, and what has necessitated their retention; and whether he can say at whose orders they were brought, and upon whom the cost of their bringing and maintenance will fall?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
I am informed by the Chief Constable that the extra police have been brought into the County of Durham for the preservation of the peace and for the protection of property, and that it is absolutely necessary that they should be retained in order to prevent disturbances. They were brought in at the instance of the Chief Constable, under Section 25 of the Police Act, 1890, and the cost of their bringing and maintenance will fall on the ratepayers.
§ MR. J. WILSON
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman has seen the charge made to the Grand Jury of Durham on Monday by Mr. Wharton, a Member of this House, and Chairman of the Quarter Sessions? Mr. Wharton said he was happy to say that riot and outrage and breaking the law to any extent had been rare and isolated, and he was thankful to acknowledge the small amount of assault and outrage or anything approaching it; and day after day the struggle was maintained in a spirit of good humour and good conduct on the part of those concerned, and he had every hope it would be maintained in the same spirit to the end. Under these circumstances, I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he considers the retention of the police drafted from the counties round about was necessary, especially as they are a source of great irritation?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
Mr. Speaker, the responsibility of maintaining the peace in any part of the Kingdom rests on the Local Magistrates and the Chief 856 Constable, and I should certainly not take upon myself, except in an extreme case, to interfere with their discretion.