HC Deb 12 May 1960 vol 623 cc603-4
18. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a recent court case in which it was stated in evidence that the defendant, a British subject, had been locked in a room at the German Embassy in London, by Metropolitan Police officers; and whether he will make a statement on the action of the police in this matter.

Mr. R. A. Butler

A constable on duty outside the German Embassy arrested a motorist at about one o'clock in the morning and, with the agreement of the porter, took her into the entrance hall of the German Embassy so that he might telephone for assistance. The door was locked by the porter but the key was left in the lock, and the motorist in fact left the Embassy while the constable was telephoning. She was at no time locked in a room.

Mr. Bellenger

Surely the Home Secretary deprecates the use of foreign embassies as common lock-ups, because that is what it amounted to. Will he issue instructions to the Metropolitan Police not to take this high-handed attitude in future?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. It was not, in fact, a high-handed attitude. This constable was on duty outside the German Embassy and this episode occurred immediately outside it. Perhaps wrongly, he took the lady in question into the German Embassy for the moment. This was in fact wrong, and is not likely to be repeated. Steps have been taken to draw it to the attention of the police.