§ Mr. Critchley
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the powers of the police in England and Wales are in regard to the use of collecting boxes in public places; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maudling
Under regulations which apply in most police areas collections are prohibited save under licence in any street or other public place. These regulations contain no power of arrest, but under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, a constable may without warrant arrest a person if he reasonably suspects him of using insulting words or behaviourwhereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned".It would be for the police to judge the circumstances in which use of a collecting box might constitute an offence under Section 5 or would give grounds for use of the power of arrest; and these in the last resort are questions for the courts to determine. But no one need be in doubt about the resentment many people would feel if attempts were made to collect money in public on behalf of organisations which have claimed responsibility 309W for recent disturbances to public order. A person found guilty of an offence against Section 5 is liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for up to three months or a fine not exceeding £100 or to both; and on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for up to 12 months or a fine not exceeding £500 or to both.