HC Deb 12 May 1952 vol 500 cc853-4
41. Mr. J. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Food whether his attention has been drawn to the statement made by the stipendiary magistrate at the West London Police Court on 7th May regarding the behaviour of an enforcement inspector of his Department; and what disciplinary action he has taken.

Dr. Hill

Yes, Sir. It is regretted that this officer, in the course of cross-examination, made an inaccurate observation on the legal position which was immediately corrected by the legal representative of the Department. In all the circumstances, it is not proposed to take disciplinary action.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is my hon. Friend aware that this kind of stricture has been pronounced on by magistrates over many years? When will his Department see that these officers possess no powers of any sort which are not possessed by the police and how do the Liberal consciences of his right hon. and gallant Friend and himself approve of these officers?

Dr. Hill

These officers have no powers not possessed by the police. They have no right of entrance into private premises. The evil is the evil of the control and restriction which makes enforcement necessary.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there has been any deterioration in the conduct of these enforcement officers since he became Parliamentary Secretary?

Dr. Hill

I have no means of making a judgment on that issue.