§ MR. SEDDON (Lancashire, Newton)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the sworn declaration forwarded to him with reference to the statements made by the Widnes police against two women members of the Salvation Army, he will cause an inquiry to be made, whereby these women may have an opportunity of removing the charge against their truthfulness.
§ (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I have made further inquiry in this matter. There are some minor discrepancies between the statements made by the two women and those made by the police; the two women, for instance, say they protested against having to wash their faces in the presence of police officers, while the police did not understand that a protest was made; but I do not think that these discrepancies involve any charge of untruthfulness against any one. They are probably due to misunderstanding or forgetfulness of what was regarded at the time as a trifling matter. What appears to me to be the serious matter is that the women were confined in the station and required to do their toilet without the presence of a female attendant. On this point I am glad to say that I have received a satisfactory assurance from the chief constable. He tells me that on 28th November he issued an order directing that, in future, arrangements must be made for a female to be present when a female prisoner has to wash, and forbidding the presence of constables on such occasions.