HC Deb 09 July 1913 vol 55 cc418-9

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to statements made at the Warwickshire Assizes during the trials of two temporary postmen for stealing a large number of letters, including jewellery and cheques, that these men had been engaged at the Labour Exchanges and that the postmasters were not allowed to make inquiries as to their characters, and that it was even known that these men had been convicted before; and whether he will now withdraw the circular instructing postmasters to get their temporary postmen through the Labour Exchanges where they cannot get characters?


My attention has been called to the statements referred to. One of the men was temporarily employed by the postmaster of Coventry in September last, and the usual inquiries respecting his character were made by the Post Office; on his re-employment in January further inquiries were made by the postmaster as to his character during the interval. There was nothing in the replies to any of the inquiries to suggest that the man had been previously convicted. The other man was obtained for Christmas work through the local Labour Exchange. I am in communication with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade as to the circumstances of this case.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to whether these men have been in Borstal institutions or not, because one man was there, if not both?


Yes, inquiries are made by local officers, as was done in the case of the first man. It was not disclosed that he had been previously convicted. I need not say how much I regret that the inquiries were insufficient in this case.