§ 42. Mr. LEONARD
asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that applicants for interviews with constables concerned in police court cases are instructed to attend at the police office when the constable's ordinary duties require him to be there; and if he will reconsider the charge of 10s. made for such interviews which are in the public interest?
§ Mr. HACKING
In the Metropolitan Police a charge is never made for an 1088 interview in connection with a police court case, but only where the interview is asked for to further the private purposes of an individual in connection with possible civil proceedings arising out of a road accident. So far as I am aware, the practice is similar in other forces in England and Wales. The reason for the charge is to cover the police time and trouble involved, and a time is fixed for the interview so as to minimise the interference with a constable's ordinary duties.
§ Mr. LEONARD
Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider this matter in view of the practice, which. I am informed, holds sway throughout the country, that interviews take place when constables, on duty for other purposes, are at the police station, and the fact that 10s. is deemed to be an excessive charge, because other witnesses are expected, in order that justice may be done, to come forward without any charge at all?
§ Mr. HACKING
As a matter of fact, my right hon. Friend has control only over the Metropolitan Police Force. He believes that it is the practice followed in other districts in England and Wales, and if the hon. Member has any case to show that it is not the practice, I shall be glad if he will send particulars.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Is my right hon. Friend aware that this charge is quite a recent charge, and was strongly protested against at the time, that it is the duty of every ordinary citizen to give an interview and give his evidence to a plaintiff without a charge, and that it is a monstrous thing that a public official, a policeman, paid by the taxpayers should make a charge.