HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 cc443-4W
Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Home Secretary what was the source of the inaccurate information conveyed to the magistrate at the London South Western police court concerning the treatment of a girl, whereby he was misdirected to criticise the absence and misbehavior of the East Sussex County Council?

Mr. H. Morrison

I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend for giving me an opportunity to explain that the East Sussex County Council had no responsibility at all for this matter, and to express my regret for the mistake. When the girl ran away from her situation and the Metropolitan Women Police took charge of her, it was ascertained that she had been in a poor law school and telephone inquiries were made of the school. By some misunderstanding the officer making these inquiries got the impression that the East Sussex County Council was responsible for the school. It was subsequently found that the East Sussex County Council had no responsibility for the school or for the girl. The error has been explained to the magistrate, who has publicly exonerated the County Council, and the Commissioner of Police has sent to the Council a letter of regret and apology. The poor law school in which the girl had been brought up was one for which the Brighton Public Assistance Committee is responsible; but after the girl had left this school and she was no longer subject to the control of this Committee, the situation, which turned out to be so unsatisfactory, was, I understand, chosen for the girl by her mother. The juvenile court has now made an order for the girl's care and protection. She has been placed with a foster parent and employment found for her.