§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, (1) whether he is aware that it was given in evidence at the Marylebone Police Court on 19th February that boys to the number of some fifty on each side were in the habit of meeting about five in the evening armed with stones, sticks, belts, and other weapons, and fighting like savages, and that a short stick, at the end of which was fastened the blade of a knife, was produced before Mr. Plowden the magistrate, along with other weapons which it was stated were used by the boys; (2) whether it has been brought to his notice that Mr. Plowden stated that tricks of this kind were easily calculated to be a source of great annoyance to people, and having severely cautioned the prisoner ordered him to be discharged, and that the magistrate ordered the sticks to be returned to the boy; and, (3) whether there has been any renewal of hostilities in the neighbourhood in question, or any special arrangements made by the police for dealing with the matter?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
Complaints were received by the police that the boys of two schools were in the habit of meeting and fighting among themselves with stones and sticks, and one who appeared to be the ringleader a boy of 13, was arrested and taken before the magistrate. No such stick as is mentioned in the Question was brought to the magistrate's notice. The action taken by the magistrate is, I understand, 441 correctly described in the second paragraph of the Question. He informs me that, in his opinion, the affair sounded much worse than it really was. There has been no renewal of hostilities, and no reason for any special police arrangements. The police are prepared to deal with any recurrence of the disorder.