HC Deb 31 March 1938 vol 333 c2168
32. Mr. Groves

asked the Home Secretary the number of police on duty in plain clothes at a meeting held in Stratford Town Hall on Monday, 28th March; who requisitioned them and why; and the number of extra uniformed police on duty in the vicinity on that date and why?

Sir S. Hoare

I understand that the arrangements made on this occasion did not differ from those commonly adopted for political meetings in this hall. There were two uniformed officers stationed outside the hall and there were seven others available in the vicinity. The local sub-divisional inspector, who was going round his sub-division in plain clothes, visited the hall while the meeting was in progress, but there were no other officers in plain clothes on duty at the meeting and there was no question of anyone requisitioning police officers.

Mr. Groves

May I ask whether my right hon. Friend is aware that at meetings other than those of the Fascists, there are no police, and whether, under the 1936 Act, there is to be provided an audience of police in plain clothes equal to the number of ordinary spectators?

Sir S. Hoare

No, Sir. The hon. Member is misinformed. As far as meetings in this hall are concerned, we always adopt the same procedure. The number of police who are on duty is exactly the same whatever the meetings, whether it be Labour, Conservative or Fascist.

Mr. Thorne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I addressed a meeting in the same hall last Sunday night, and that there were no plain-clothes policemen there?

Hon. Members

How do you know?