§ 43. Mr. GALBRAITH
asked the Home Secretary whether he will give instructions that documents and property shall not be removed from a private house by the police except in the presence of the occupier, his representative, or some witness unconnected with the Government service, and except after a form has been signed by such occupier, representative, or witness stating that each document or piece of property so removed has been removed in his presence?
§ Mr. SHORTT
No, Sir. I cannot give these instructions. As a general rule, the police conduct searches while the owner or occupier is on the premises; but if he is absent, it may be impossible to defer the search till he returns.
§ Mr. KILEY
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that quite recently the house of a demobilised officer who was 1109 undergoing medical treatment, the result of War service, was visited, and certain things taken away, and he has been unable to obtain their return from the Home Office, nor can he discover the name of the officer who took the things away? In a case of this kind could not the police officer be instructed to leave some sort of a note?
§ Mr. SHORTT
Under various statutes and under No. 51 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations the police have powers of search in the absence of the occupier or his representative.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
In such a case is it just to produce substantial articles found as evidence; and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on the Continent this cannot be done unless the occupier is present?