Friday, 23 November 1888.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
THURSDAY, November 22.
Mr. HOWELL asked the Home Secretary whether his attention had been called to the remarks of a metropolitan magistrate, Mr. Montagu Williams, at Worship-street Police-court, on Monday last - namely, "That the whole crime of the district is due to registered lodging-houses… which are made the homes of the men who perpetrate robberies," and of the words of the policemen, whom he quotes, who said, "They were the resorts of notorious characters;" and whether he would cause in inquiry to be instituted into the common lodging-houses of the metropolis, with a view to further legislation and inspection.
Mr. MATTHEWS. - I have not yet been able to ascertain whether the learned magistrate made use of the words quoted, but I am informed by the police authorities that they know of no case in which a constable told a magistrate that common lodging-houses were the resort of notorious characters. In the opinion of the police it cannot be said that crime is due to common lodging-houses. There is no doubt that a certain number of the criminal class do live in common lodging-houses; but the owners of those houses are ready, as a rule, to assist the police with information, and the inmates are under police supervision to a greater extent than they would be if they were driven to live elsewhere. I have been for some time in communication with the Local Government Board and the police on the question whether the registration of common lodging-houses can be improved.