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The lash for procurers

09 November 2012

The Church Times - November 8th, 1912.

LAST WEEK the House of Commons passed some drastic amendments to the Criminal Law Amendment Act. In the first place it restored Clause I to the form in which it originally stood when the present Bill was introduced. It gives power to any police constable to arrest at sight anyone suspected of procuring. The police will now have large powers for the suppression of this horrible traffic. In the second place - and this was remarkable in view of the number of sentimentalists in Parliament - the House almost unanimously approved of the proposal to add flogging to imprisonment in the case of second offenders, and even, though only by a very small majority, agreed that this punishment should be inflicted on first offenders. We are not quite sure that we should not have been in the minority on this last point. It is possible that an innocent man might be found guilty as a first offender, and it is horrible to think of him as suffering the lash in addition to imprisonment. It is well to recall the fact that the majority of the miscreants who are engaged in the White Slave Traffic are aliens, who, thanks to the ridiculously sentimental way in which the Aliens Act has been administered, have found it only too easy to come into this country on their nefarious business. It would have been better to carry out, with the utmost possible rigour, the law relating to undesirable aliens than to run the risk of flogging an innocent man.

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