§ 26. Mr. HICKS
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, prior to the trial of Messrs. Hannington and Elias, the police carried out the search of the premises which constituted the headquarters of the hunger-marchers and removed documents; whether the police were in possession of a search warrant; what was the purpose of the search; and under what authority was this procedure adopted?
When in the execution of a warrant issued by the chief magistrate at. Bow Street, Mr. Hannington was arrested, the offices which he occupied as an official of the National Unemployed Workers' Movement were searched by the police. There was no similar search on the occasion of the arrest of Mr. Elias. There was no separate warrant authorising the search of Mr. Hannington's premises, but the search was carried out in accordance with long-established practice for the purpose of 'ascertaining whether there was matter on the premises relevant to the charge against him. This practice of searching the premises of an arrested person is well established, has constantly been brought to the notice of the Courts, and was recognised as necessary and proper by the Royal Commission on Police Powers 'and Procedure.
I do not understand the purport of the question. This search had nothing to do with the body, but was connected with the arrest of a particular individual, and the search was made in the offices which he occupied.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the police have a right to search offices in which a man is employed, when the warrant is against the man alone and not against the body which employs him?
If on any occasion the police in a search of this kind exceed their powers the remedy lies in the civil courts.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Does not the hon. Gentleman think that as he is responsible for the police he ought to see that they carry out their duties properly, and not leave it to private individuals to go to a civil court?
I am satisfied that they do carry out their duties properly. I am only suggesting that if private individuals wish to challenge that they ought to challenge it in the manner which is open to them.
§ Mr. THORNE
If anyone in the headquarters of the Conservative Association was under suspicion and a warrant was issued for his arrest, would the police be entitled to search that association's offices?