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DOCKS IMMORALITY. I

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DOCKS IMMORALITY. I SWANSEA COUNCILLOR ALLEGES I LUflIN-G AWAY OF GIRLS. At Swansea Watch Committee inching I on Tuesday, Ald. D. Davies in the chair, a krng discussion arose on itie serious allegations that have been m-i ie on the !lstioJ1 of immora?tv at the S 'ea ir k-s. T? Chief Constable (Capt. A. Thomas) had written to Inspector Parker, 'of the Docks Police, pointing cut that it had been alleged that the Swansea docks hadbeccme a hot-bed of immorality, and that young girls, 13 years of age, it was alleged, had been seen going on board the ships in company with sailors. Inspector .Parker had replied that he was very lcuch surprised at the state- ments that bad been made, and he was amazed to see what had transpired at a meeting of the Swansea Watch Commit- tee "regarding tlris matter. He had been a police officer ar Swansea for the last 40 years, and was fully acquainted with all tliert went on at tiftf docks, and he char- acterised the remarks that had been made ?s a gross exaggeration. The Norwegian missioner "?pporteft his view. The pOlie.al¡ jfficcrs had instructions to prevent young birls going on to the boats ii the circum- l stances were suspicious. Another letter was written by Colonel Edwards Vaughan. in charge of the Swan- sea Docks Defences, asking the Chief Constable w hether the allegations were well founded. and the Chief Constable had replied that the docks were policed by the Docks Police. lr. Win. Law, manager of the Harbour Trust, had also written pointing out that, special con- stables for Dtf docks were appointed by Act of Parliament, and detailing their duties, and this letter was forwarded to Colonel Edwards Vaughan by the Ohief Constable. who stated lie had personally patrolled the docks, and no complaints had been made to him. The Chief Constable also submitted two re- ports showing that the docks had been patrolled, and the officers saw no dis- orderly conduct. No women had been seen going aboard the boats accompanied by sailors or otherwise. Mr. J Powlesland: May I ask the Chief Constable how many times he has visited the docks, and what time ha was there. Captain Thomas replied that he had been all over the docks, and at all times. Mr. Powlesland said that neither the Chief Constable nor anybody else knew anything about it it they were prepared to deny what he had stated, and there was no itenr he spoke of that was exaggerated ip any way whatever. It was absolutpl" correct, and lie could confirm it up to the hilt. It a public inquiry was necessary In* would put 150 wit- nesses into the box to confirm every statemen t- he had made. There were members of his committee who had seen those tilings, and had told him they ought to be stopped. The thing had become so )ad !iat thev could not resist speaking about it, and those men did not pay visits to the docks once a month, or once or i-wiee in a given week, but they spent their lifetime on the docks. They went to work there at nights and they saw men I\n:l women going aboard the hoab, at nights, and they saw the women leave aginin in the mornings, and they were prepaid to give the names of the ships. It was a respectable class of girl that was being led astray at the pre- sent time, and tlnrre were one or two places within a pistol shot of that room that were the means of coercing and lead- ing these young girls astray. There were people who led these girls on to lead a bad life. and kept them at it continuously. TMAse were' actual facts that could be proved by evidence and sworn testimony, and he wa prepared to stand by what he had sai?. imatt h ews: ?T f wliat N fr. Pow l es. ":r. D. Matthews: If what Mr. Powles- land says is correct it is astounding. I had no idea things were so bad as that. i certainly think a committee ohould take the matter up and seriously consider it -with the Harbour Trust and the military a 11 horities. The Chairman pointed out that in war time no persons were supposed to enter the docks without a pass, lie asked if people were allowed to go over the docks at ordinary times. Mr. Powlesland: Yes, and nobody ques- tions them. Aid. Davies said that these girls could represent that they were relatives of the men on hoard the ships, and in such cases thev could obtain passes from the military authorities. The Chief Constable said that no doubt many things might happen which the police knew nothing about, and he aske 1 Mr. Powlesland as a favour to give tha police any information he had in his pos- session regarding the statements hb bad made. The Chairman: Have the Docks Police instructions to turn women v.way at night? Mr. Powlesland: They don't walk int. the de-k. They are 'conveyed mto the deck in taxi-cabs and all those kird "f things. Mr. Matthews said that one of the most serious remarks that Mr. Powlesland had made was that within a pistol shot of that room these girls were being lured into and detained at certain places, and taken from there to the docks. Surely this was a most serious statement. Mr. Powlesland asked Captain Thomas if he had had a letter from the Scandin- avian missionary. Captain Thomas replied that he had not. but he had had one from the Nor- wegian missionary. Mr. Powlesland: The letter from the Scandianavian missionary contradicts In- spector Par ker's statement entirely. Mr. J. Devonald proposed that a sub- committee 4, appointed to inquire whether there was anything in the state- ments Mr. Powlesland had made. Mr. Powlesland: I hope the committee won't say there is nothing in it. I say there is everything in it. If the docks are :iO per cent, worse than they were five or six years ago. when I worked there, I say the- must be abominable. Aid. B: Jones: And if they are 50 per cent, better they are still verv bad. Mr. J. Barclav OWf-n said lie had heard the docks had been very bad for a very long time, but he had not seen the evil himself. The Chairman said unless they got a regulation preventing girls from visiting the docks during certain hours they might (h an injustice to some girls by turning them away. They would have to be very caref u l. The following committee of enquiry was formed to act in conjunction with a similar number from the Harbour Trust: The Mayor, Mr. Perry Mol.vneux, Alder- man D. Davies, and Mr. J. Powlesland.

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