HC Deb 23 February 1943 vol 387 cc28-9
43. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that an order issued recently by the Provost Marshal, Royal Air Force, to enforce discipline is being used to justify petty interferences with the normal freedom of Service men and women and that the numerous trifling offences cause a large amount of work, due to the duplication of such reports, for the clerical staff; and will he take steps to see such orders are not unreasonably interpreted?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

I am satisfied that the instructions of the Provost Marshal are reasonably interpreted, and that there is no avoidable clerical work involved in disposing of the cases brought to notice.

Mr. Edwards

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that women have recently been reported for wearing their stockings inside out and such trivial offences, and since these recent orders went out the clerical work has been almost doubled?

Captain Balfour

I have no information about the case of the stockings. My information is that the clerical work has not increased materially. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that smartness of bearing and observance of rules and regulations, even in minor matters, in a Service body have long been accepted as an integral part of Service life.

Mr. Edwards

If I give the right hon. and gallant Gentleman information about this matter, will he look into it again?

Captain Balfour

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

With regard to the Provost Marshal who is head of the Royal Air Force police, what experience, if any, did he have of police work before he was appointed to the post?