HC Deb 18 December 1928 vol 223 cc2792-4

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the two constables who were sent into the Paisley public house to obtain evidence of the sale and consumption of exciseable liquors after permitted hours were in plain clothes, and that it was admitted in court that they had been consuming liquor after permitted hours; and whether he will circularise local police authorities pointing out the undesirability of applying such methods to obtain convictions?


I am informed that the two constables were in plain clothes and that one of them stated in Court that he was sipping beer after the closing hour. The constables were sent to the public house, because the police had reason to suspect that the licensee was persistently selling exciseable liquor after permitted hours and allowing it to be consumed on the premises, and the action taken was necessary to secure evidence of contravention of the law. My right hon. Friend sees no ground for any action on his part.


Considering that the verdict in this case was one of not proven against the licensee, will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the desirability of sending some word round to the chief constables asking them not to employ constables in this manner in order to trap publicans or other members of the public into committing crime by themselves asking for drink to be served to them after hours?


I do not think that this matter arises out of the question which was asked by the hon. Member.


Arising out of that reply, is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that in this question it states that the constables themselves admitted that they had been consuming liquor after hours, and that they were using that evidence to convict the licensee. In view of these facts, I am asking whether the hon. and gallant Gentleman, or his chief, the Secretary of State for Scotland, will send some circular round deprecating such tactics being used by the police in Scotland or anywhere else in order to obtain convictions against licensees?

Viscountess ASTOR

Would it not be wise to have teetotal women constables to deal with this matter?


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether there was anybody else on these premises at the time besides the two constables who were consuming liquor?


That question does not arise.


Is not the best way of avoiding this kind of thing to introduce legislation to lengthen the hours of opening?