HC Deb 09 November 1933 vol 281 cc294-5
13. Mr. McENTEE

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state the result of his inquiry as to the circumstances in which it is the practice of the police to charge persons. with the offence of sleeping out?

19. Mr. MANDER

asked the Home Secretary whether, in connection with the proplem of the proper treatment of sleeping-out offences, his attention has been called to Police Order No. 565, issued by the chief constable of Wolverhampton; and whether he will take steps to see that the matter is treated throughout the country on the same lines?

21. Brigadier-General SPEARS

asked the Home Secretary whether he can now state the result of his inquiry among chief constables into arrests for sleeping out under Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Gilmour)

My attention has been called to the police order to which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton East (Mr. Mander) refers. The replies which I have received from chief officers of police indicate that persons are not as a rule arrested and charged under this provision in the Vagrancy Act unless there is ground for thinking that they are of bad character, or they are found in circumstances likely to cause danger or nuisance to the community. I am satisfied that it is the general practice to use this power sparingly, but I propose to consider the question whether it is possible to define more closely the circumstances in which proceedings are necessary or desirable.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the new regulations, when he has considered them, will be made accessible to the Members of the House?


Oh, yes, Sir, certainly.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

Will they be in the form of a Bill?


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the humane administration on this subject that exists in Wolverhamption is extended to the country generally?


I am always glad to give consideration to the matter.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

May I ask whether any amendment of the law will be introduced


I am not in a position, as I have only just received these reports, to come to a decision as to whether that is desirable or not.