HC Deb 28 February 1917 vol 90 cc2049-50W

asked the Home Secretary if his attention has been drawn to the punishments recently inflicted on members of the Metropolitan police force for disobedience of an order forbidding their attendance at meetings organised by the Police and Prison Officers' Union; has he considered whether the severity of such punishments is merited by the offence; and, without abrogating the rule against joining a trade union, will he consider the advisability of satisfying any unrest which exists by allowing opportunities of conference on matters of common interest and the collective representation of grievances?


I am fully aware of the circumstances. Several warnings have been issued, and on previous occasions minor punishments have been imposed; but, as a few men still continued deliberately to disregard his orders, the Commissioner of Police was reluctantly compelled to take more severe measures. Every man's case was considered on its merits, and I am satisfied that the punishments were awarded with careful discrimination.

It would not be advisable in the case of a disciplined force responsible for public order to permit the collective representation of grievances which the hon. Member suggests. The police have ample opportunity for making any representations they may desire to the Commissioner, through their superintendents, and they may apply to see the Commissioner.

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