§ MR. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the disturbances at Hazel Grove and Bullock's Smithy, Cheshire, resulting in a prolonged siege of the police barracks, injury to property, and the wounding of belligerents; and whether, in view of the continued excitement, he will consult with the authorities as to the advisability of placing the services of the military at the disposal of the local police in the event of a further outbreak.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS, Kent, St. Augustine's)
My attention has been drawn to the matter by hon. Members' Questions and I have obtained a report from the Chief Constable. It appears that on the evening after a local election the police were hustled while arresting a drunken man, a crowd assembled, stones were thrown and windows broken, and extra police had to be obtained from the neighbouring borough of Stockport. There was a slight disturbance the following evening, but the excitement has now apparently 1335 subsided. There was no occasion whatever for calling in the services of the military.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
Have any of the offenders been arrested, and, if so, will they be tried before a special jury?
§ MR. MACVEAGH
Seeing that the riot lasted several hours on the Saturday and was continued on the Sunday how is it no arrests have been made?
§ * MR. DISRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the inhabitants of Hazel Grove are a peaceful and law-abiding people?
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
Has the hon. Member who represents the Division denounced these rioters on a public platform?
[No Answer was returnd.]
§ * MR. DISRAELI
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the riot which took place at Hazel Grove, near Stockport, on Saturday, July 1st, which culminated in the police station being besieged by the inhabitants, and the local constables held prisoners until released by a force of constabulary from Stockport; whether he is aware that the disturbance was renewed on Sunday night, damage being done to the police premises; whether he is aware that this disturbance is the outcome of a gradually growing feeling of resentment amongst the inhabitants at the conduct for some time past of the local police; and whether, in order to allay public feeling at Hazel Grove, he will recommend the urgency of an inquiry by the Standing Joint Committee of 1336 Cheshire into the whole circumstances of the case.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
I have already, in reply to another Question, mentioned the facts of this small local disturbance. The Chief Constable informs me that the ill-feeling towards the police on the part of a section of the inhabitants originates in some recent betting prosecutions, and the removal of a police sergeant who had been very remiss in the performance of his duties. I have no reason to think that the police have been guilty of any misconduct; and I have every confidence that the responsible local authorities—the Chief Constable and the Standing Joint Committee—are perfectly competent to make any necessary inquiries and to deal with the whole matter.
§ MR. KILBRIDE
Will the right hon. Gentleman send a copy of his Answer to the Chief Secretary for Ireland?
MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Irish Secretary what is his definition of crime in Ireland?