Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am the (minty fresh) law?

Discovered while searching for discussions of police powers in the summer of 1928:

Mr. HAYES asked the Home Secretary the grounds upon which the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has prohibited the use of chewing-gum by police while on duty?

Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS: The Commissioner has prohibited the use of chewing-gum by police officers on duty because the practice seemed to him not only to invite unfavourable comment, but also to be likely to impair an officer's capacity to deal promptly and efficiently with many of the situations which are constantly arising in the course of his duties.

Mr. HAYES: Is the order prohibiting the use of chewing-gum to be extended to a prohibition of the consumption of chocolates by the Commissioner; and, if so, will it have any effect on the administration?

Viscountess ASTOR: Is it not much more difficult to answer questions properly when you are chewing gum?

Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS: That is one of the reasons why the Commissioner has prohibited the practice. I am also informed that in blowing a whistle you may blow the gum into the whistle.

Mr. HAYES: There is a serious question involved here. Is the prohibition of the use of chewing-gum extended to a prohibition of the purchase of chewing-gum? In fact, the purchase of chewing-gum has been prohibited in the service canteens, and, that being so, why is an officer, who may not drink beer while on duty, allowed to buy beer in the canteen when he is off duty?

HC Deb 05 July 1928 vol 219 cc1550-1

It sort of reminded me of something I posted last year, about the dangers of orange peels and anarchists.


mikeovswinton said...

You do know that Sir William Joynson-Hicks was known universally as "Jix", don't you? The public school sense of humour. Makes you proud to be British, wot!

John Carter Wood said...

Oh yes, Jix and I are well acquainted, given that he was Home Secretary from 1924 to 1929, right in the midst of the policing scandals that I've been researching for the last couple of years, the results of which are finally beginning to see the light of day.

Joynson-Hicks's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography claims: ‘He was the most prudish, puritanical, and protestant home secretary of the twentieth century.’

I'm not sure that that's strictly true -- my knowledge of all of the Home Secretaries in the twentieth century is pretty limited -- and I've been told recently by someone who's been looking into him that his poor reputation is based on a lot of exaggerations.

And he was quite a dapper fellow.

Still, he doesn't really strike me as my kind of chap.

mikeovswinton said...

As dapper and prudish as Theresa May?
Still, when it came to getting the cane out of the cupboard he was the man. More public school humour courtes of England's Living National Treasure Stephen Fry.