HC Deb 29 June 1944 vol 401 cc803-4
58. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War if be will make it possible for chief constables to exercise discretion, in cases of exceptional hardship, in the interpretation of the provisions of the recent Protected Areas Order.

Mr. A. Henderson

As stated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in answer to a Question on 27th April last by my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Parker), permission has been granted to certain categories of persons to enter the Protected Areas, and the police have been instructed to administer the provisions with reasonable latitude. It is not open to the police themselves to grant permission to other categories of persons in addition to these prescribed in the relevant Order, but the question whether any addition should be made to the existing categories to cover grounds of hardship not already provided for, is under examination.

Mr. Driberg

Could the hon. and learned Gentleman say how soon the results of that examination are likely to be made known?

Mr. Henderson

No, Sir, I cannot.

Mr. Petherick

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that at the moment there are a number of very hard cases of persons who wish to get into these areas, and, in anticipation of a decision being reached by the Government, will he in the meantime issue instructions to chief constables that such hard cases may be sympathetically, though temporarily, dealt with?

Mr. Henderson

I would prefer that particulars of those cases of hardships should be sent to the War Office in the first place.

Captain Plugge

Does my hon. and learned Friend not agree that it is very difficult to frame such regulations? May I recall the case I brought to his notice of one of my constituents who was not allowed to return to her own home as a result of this Order?

Mr. Driberg

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that if the hard cases are sent to the War Office, as he advises, the War Office say the administration of the Order is left in the hands of the chief constables, and the chief constables say that they have no discretionary powers? So what?

Mr. Henderson

I think that if the hon. Member would follow my advice it would help matters, because it would enable the War Office, in consultation with the Home Office, to see whether it would be possible to afford facilities.