HC Deb 13 November 1912 vol 43 cc1973-4
29. Mr. MARTIN

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Messrs. Gurney and Embleton were fined 22s. each by Mr. Bros, at the Clerkenwell Police Court, for taking up a collection to help the sick and distressed blind at a trade union demonstration held under the auspices of the National League of the Blind on Sunday, 6th October; whether he is aware that similar collections are being taken up frequently in different parts of London; and, if so, will he say why these particular persons were selected for prosecution?


Messrs. Gurney and Embleton were convicted and fined as stated. The Commissioner of Police informs me that, they had deliberately set themselves and incited other collectors to break the Regulations which govern street collections after they had been cautioned by the police, and there was no alternative but to proceed against them. I am not aware that similar collections are taken in the same way in other parts of London.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the only notice these men received was the police handing them a copy of Regulations with regard to meetings of this kind without any special reference to one about the taking of collections, and that the people had no reason to suppose at all that the police intended to make any difference in that particular case from other occasions that were allowed?


In view of what my lion. Friend says I will make further inquiry into the matter.


May I ask whether street collecting is illegal, and whether he is enforcing that at present or has ceased to do so?


I have explained, I think more than once, in answer to questions, what the precise circumstances are under which collections may be taken.


May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the fact that the Regulations as to street collecting only apply when the money is for political purposes, and in view of the fact that this was for help for the blind, can he see his way to make some exception?


In this case it was not a matter of the purpose for which the collection was made, but whether there was obstruction in the street or not.