HC Deb 08 May 1941 vol 371 cc966-7
41. Mr. Culverwell

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case at Bow Street, on 3rd May, of a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service who pleaded guilty to a charge of looting; and whether he will take steps to have members of the Auxiliary Fire Service, who have been found guilty of looting, transferred when they have served their sentence to duties in which the opportunity for looting is not so easy?

Mr. H. Morrison

I have seen reports in the Press on the case in question. The issue raised by my hon. Friend is for determination by the local authority concerned, and I am informed that it is the practice in London for a man to report back for duty after completion of his sentence. Careful consideration is then given to the question whether his services should be dispensed with or not, and, if he is retained, the nature of the duties which he should perform.

Mr. Culverwell

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the magistrate's remark to the district officer? It makes one wonder whether the authorities appreciate the contemptible nature of this offence. Surely the right hon. Gentleman would agree that it is entirely wrong that a service which provides easy opportunities for looting should have restored to it men who have already committed that offence?

Mr. Morrison

There is a number of people whose records are open to question—who even have criminal records— who have done a first-class job in Civil Defence. I have sufficient faith in the London County Council—and I know their standards quite well—that they will consider this matter in the most careful way possible before putting men in the Service. I respect the opinions of magistrates, but on this matter I would rather take the opinion of the London County Council.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is the degree of opportunity to be looked upon as a deterrent against these offences? Would it not be better to hold over those convicted the prospect of being retained in places where opportunities are easier rather than where opportunities are more rare?

Mr. Morrison

I think it would be the other way with the L.C.C.

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