HC Deb 18 April 1946 vol 421 cc2868-9
9. Mr. Donovan

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that in a recent case in the Leicester Police Court, evidence of the sale of alcoholic liquor outside permitted hours was given by two policemen who admitted that they had obtained such evidence on the premises in question by attiring themselves in R.A.F. and Army uniforms, respectively; and whether he will circularise chief constables as to the undesirability of such procedure.

Mr. Ede

In response to inquiries by me, the chief constable tells me that he only resorted to the procedure in question when other methods had failed to score the evidence needed for enforcement of the law. As the subject was dealt with by the Royal Commission on Police Powers and Procedure and the Royal Commission on Licensing which reported respectively in 1929 and 1931, I see no occasion for a circular.

Mr. Janner

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a considerable amount of feeling, not only in Leicester but elsewhere, in respect of methods of this description being used which might induce people to commit crimes, and will he see that something is done to prevent it?

Mr. Ede

I have been very carefully into this case and am satisfied that nothing improper was done by the police. The premises in question are exceedingly difficult of observation, and the complaints received by the police were so numerous that it was necessary to take every step to see that the law was enforced.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

The right hon. Gentleman says that nothing improper was done; surely it is improper for anyone to masquerade in His Majesty's uniform?

Mr. Ede

The police officers concerned were all of them men who were entitled, within the law, to wear His Majesty's uniform.