§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
asked the Home Secretary the result of his inquiries into the actions of the two chief constables in the Nuneaton case; and what steps he proposes to take to secure justice and reparation for Mr. Hunt on account of the action of the police?1542W
§ Mr. CAIRNS
asked the Home Secretary whether he is in a position to state the result of his inquiry as to the existence of any rule for the guidance of the police officers in dealing with the documents seized in the various raids made upon offices of organisations concerned in the printing and circulation of literature; whether his attention has been drawn to the circumstances surrounding the dismissal from his employment of William Henry Hunt, under-manager of the Haunchwood colliery; whether he is aware that this man some time ago wrote to the Bakunin Press, Glasgow, asking for a supply of certain literature which he desired to study; that subsequently he was called before his employers, confronted with a copy of the letter he had sent to Glasgow, and dismissed from his employment, and that just previously the offices of the Bakunin Press were raided and a number of documents, including Mr. Hunt's letter, seized; whether documents seized by the police in these raids are handed over to private persons; and whether he will ascertain how Mr. Hunt's letter came to the knowledge of his employers?
§ Sir J. BAIRD
I have been asked to answer this question. As stated in reply to questions on the 26th May, this matter was dealt with entirely by the local police. I find on inquiry that when the Glasgow police searched the Communist headquarters they found a letter in which Mr. Hunt asked for literature and asked for secrecy on account of his "official position." The police quite properly sent this letter to the Chief Constable of Warwickshire, who thought it his duty to show it to the man's employers. The employers, I understand, dismissed Mr. Hunt after showing him the letter and giving him a month's salary in lieu of notice. The general rule is that the police should not show to private persons papers which come into their hands on seizure or arrest, but the proper action must depend on the circumstances of each case, and no precise instructions can be given. My right hon. Friend does not propose to take any steps as regards reparation.