HC Deb 17 February 1943 vol 386 cc1711-2
13. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that recently a Royal Air Force special police officer followed by two ordinary Royal Air Force military police were seen in four separate parts of the city for the purpose of discovering Royal Air Force men who failed to salute officers; that, where successful, the military police following stopped such men and interrogated them; and whether he will stop officers and men being used for such purposes as this?

Sir A. Sinclair

I have no knowledge of the incident to which the hon. Member refers. It is, however, necessary that a proper standard of discipline should be maintained throughout the Royal Air Force, and to that end R.A.F. Police in the course of their patrolling of public thoroughfares check irregularities as and when they are observed.

Mr. Green

Is the Minister aware that my informant, a Service man, will feel that as a result of this answer the information supplied to the Minister has been very incomplete, and that he was a victim of this official snooping himself; and, further, does the right hon. Gentleman not feel that the public generally are of the opinion that gallant men in the Royal Air Force could spend their time very much better than in conducting this sort of trapping of Service men?

Sir A. Sinclair

There is no question of the trapping of Service men. There are certain duties which the police have to perform in the public streets, and it is only natural that in the course of those duties they should check irregularities.

Mr. Walter Edwards

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the time is opportune for saluting to be abolished in off-duty hours?

Mr. Charles Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Russia they take every military precaution of this kind, as the Prime Minister pointed out the other day, and they are very much up to date?