HC Deb 27 November 1912 vol 44 cc1289-90W

asked the Home Secretary whether any systematic arrangement has been made by the Metropolitan Police authorities to provide refreshment for constables who are called away from their ordinary duty for long hours of special duty under exceptional circumstances; whether any inquiry has been made into this question since the time of the Sidney Street incident, in which constables were alleged to have been on duty for fourteen hours continuously without food, when the Home Office in consequence promised to look into the whole question; whether he has received complaints on such State occasions as Royal funeral processions, Coronation pro- cessions, and, more recently, the Investiture at Carnarvon, as to the insufficiency of the accommodation and commissariat for the constables engaged; what steps have been taken to meet those complaints; whether at the time of the recent London dock strike some constables paraded at 7.30 a.m. and were on duty till midnight, no food arrangements being provided, and that in some cases the constables were on duty as long as eighteen hours without food; whether it has been brought to the notice of the Home Office that on the occasions of flying trials at Hendon special service is required from constables, in some cases causing them to be on duty from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. without any provision for food, except in the cases of a few men within the limits of the aviation ground; and whether the Home Office will call upon the Receiver of Metropolitan Police for a Report as to the possibility of an emergency commissariat to be established and with a view to its inception at the earliest possible date?


I would refer the hon. Member to the detailed reply which I gave to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for South St. Pan eras on the 19th of this month. I have already assured the House that the question of refreshment for police employed on special duty is invariably the subject of careful consideration, and that directions are given and arrangements made suitable to the occasion. The condition of things at Carnarvon was dealt with by the Commissioner of Police, who was on the spot, to the satisfaction of the men. Ample arrangements for food and refreshment for police on duty were made in connection with the London dock strike, and on no occasion were police on duty for eighteen hours, or indeed for any prolonged period, without food. At the first meetings at Hendon, owing to the unexpectedly large attendance of the public, the local refreshment arrangements were severely taxed, and the police detailed for duty were in consequence largely dependent on the food they had been warned to carry with them in accordance with custom. The difficulty has long since been overcome, and I am told that this duty is a very popular one, for which there are many volunteers.