HC Deb 05 August 1912 vol 41 cc2685-6W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to why Inspector Peel of the Metropolitan Police, with a body of police, removed a number of sailors and firemen from the Mercantile Marine Office at Connaught Road, Victoria Docks, on 31st July; whether he is aware that the Mercantile Marino Office is the seamen's labour market; whether Inspector Peel exceeded his duty in entering the premises and assaulting the men who were waiting for employment; and, if so, will he take steps to prevent a repetition of such conduct on the part of the police inspector?


I understand that it has for some years been the custom for the delegates of the Sailors' and Firemen's Union to attend outside the Mercantile Marine Office in Connaught Road for the purpose of collecting members' contributions, and no objection was taken to this by the police while it was done in a reasonable manner, but of late the number and demeanour of the persons attending for this purpose has been such as to cause obstruction and trouble, and the police have been compelled to require them to move away. Two delegates who went inside the Board of Trade offices were also required to go away; they had no legal right to be there, and their conduct was complained of, but there was, I understand, no arrest or assault. At the present moment, when there is special risk of conflict between unionists and non-unionists, the police are bound to take every precaution against any proceedings which might lead to disturbance or breach of the peace.

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