HC Deb 05 July 1897 vol 50 cc1107-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that on Sunday, the 20th June, a police officer apprehended two men (named respectively Nicoll and Low), who were addressing a public audience at the corner of Beckton Road, Canning Town, without any warrant or other legal authority, and that these men were kept in custody for several hours; that, on two Town Councillors presenting themselves at the police station to offer bail, they were told that there was no charge against the men, the police officer admitting that he had no charge against the men; whether it is legal for a police officer to apprehend persons addressing public meetings without any warrant or other legal authority; and whether he will cause a strict investigation to be made into the conduct of the police officer in question, with a view of seeing that justice and fair play is meted out in cases of this kind?


I understand that Nicoll, who was accompanied by Low, was found to be distributing leaflets of a scandalous character, containing a most offensive description of the Queen; and that the two men were, in accordance with instructions, taken to the nearest station. Nicoll, however, expressed regret for his conduct, and promised not to repeat it, and, as he kept his promise, no proceedings have hitherto been taken. The action taken by the police in the case of these men had no connection whatever with their addressing a public meeting.