HC Deb 19 February 1952 vol 496 cc15-6W
Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Supply if he has now considered the allegations on behalf of Mr. J. W. Chesterman, employed at his Department's Burghfield Depot as a plain-clothes detective until his dismissal in December, 1947, a copy of which has been sent him; and if he is agreeable to a public inquiry.

Mr. Low

The appeals which Mr. Chesterman made to the former Minister of Supply and others were carefully considered on each occasion. I have closely investigated all the facts relating to his dismissal and the allegations to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. Chesterman while employed and paid as a patrolman, was allotted certain plain clothes duties. He was a special constable. Every case of serious irregularity brought to the notice of the Superintendent of the Ministry of Supply Depot at Burghfield by Mr. Chesterman was the subject of a full inquiry and investigation, and any necessary disciplinary action was taken as a result of these inquiries.

It was decided to dispense with a plain clothes patrolman because the activities at the Depot and the number of people having access to the Depot had decreased considerably. The position was fully explained to Mr. Chesterman and he was offered employment in the normal Fire/ Patrol Force. He was not prepared to accept this. A very full discussion took place with officials of his trade union who made representations on his behalf.

The alteration of the warrant card was fully investigated following a Question in the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) in July, 1950, and I have nothing to add to the reply given by the former Minister of Supply. There is no record of any approach by a prospective employer for a reference covering Mr. Chesterman's employment at Burghfield, nor has Mr. Chesterman asked for one. In either case the Department would have given a reference. In these circumstances, I do not consider that a public inquiry would be justified.