HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 cc1439-40W
Sir R. Acland

asked the Home Secretary whether he has considered a case in which a police officer in Barnstaple called upon an individual whom he would have had no reasonable ground for suspecting of being connected with the enemy, and demanded, under the Emergency Powers Act, to see copies of a letter sent by this individual to his parents, his brother and one friend, on the grounds that he suspected them of containing matter prejudicial to the defence of the realm; and whether, as the whole of the regulations are under reconsideration, he will issue instructions to all police forces to refrain from any such actions?

Sir J. Anderson

I am informed by the Chief Constable of Devonshire that, following a complaint made to the police on 14th November, it was ascertained that a member of the Devonshire Special Constabulary had received from the individual mentioned in the question certain documents which suggested that he might be engaged in activities contravening the Defence Regulations. A police officer visited him, and he showed the .officer a number of typewritten docu-

Sir E. Grigg

The following table gives the names and salaries of the staff of the Film Publicity Division of the Ministry:

ments covering 18 sheets. In view of their length, the officer asked if he might take them away for examination, and assent was given to this request. Examination of the documents showed there were no grounds for any action under the Regulations and that the complaint made to the police was unfounded. I am in full agreement with the hon. Member's view that the police should avoid interference with documents such as these turned out to be, but when complaints are made to the police it is often impracticable for the police to dismiss them as baseless until after they have made some inquiries.

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