HC Deb 13 April 1937 vol 322 cc771-2
24. Mr. Thurtle

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, in view of the apprehensions expressed by the Minister of Justice, whether any steps will be taken to ensure that native constables, in enforcing the Southern Rhodesian Natives Registration Act, shall not abuse the wide powers vested in them and thus cause undue hardship to natives visiting townships or desirous of visiting townships?

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

I have been in communication with the Government of Southern Rhodesia with regard to this matter. The apprehensions to which the hon. Member refers were expressed by the Minister of justice before he was appointed to his present office. The police are now, of course, under his control, and he has, I understand, informed the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia that he will do everything in his power to ensure that the native constables do not abuse their powers.

Mr. Paling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these apprehensions exist in the minds of many people, that the Bishop of Southern Rhodesia has made a statement on it, and that the Prime Minister admitted that the position might be most difficult if the provisions of the law were administered so as to cause extreme hardship to the natives concerned?

Mr. MacDonald

I hope that this answer and the assurances given by the Minister of Justice will do something to remove those apprehensions.