§ 53. Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the circumstances of the signing-on of the crew of the s.s. "Camito" at Bristol on 20th February last; is he aware that police were stationed at the gangways leading to the ship to demand union cards of men proceeding on board to sign on, and that the police prevented members of the Amalgamated Marine Workers' Union from going on the ship while permitting members of the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union to do so; under what powers the police acted in this regard; whether 2364 any protest has been made to the Bristol authorities; and whether he will make representations to stop the practice referred to?
§ Mr. SHORTT
This incident had not previously been brought to my notice, but I have communicated with the Chief Constable, and am informed that on the date in question police were sent at the request of the owners of the vessel to maintain order and to prevent intimidation of members of the crew when signing on. My information is to the effect that the police did not ask any man to produce his union card. I am also told that a deputation from the Amalgamated Marine Workers' Union subsequently saw the Lord Mayor and the Town Clerk, who satisfied themselves after inquiry that there had been nothing irregular in the action of the police and that they had in no way exceeded their duty. Any complaint as to their conduct is a matter for the Watch Committee, in whom the control of the force is vested by law, and I see no reason to intervene.