asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what police information is given to the Post Office about applicants for casual employment at Christmas.
No information is given to anyone, however responsible, unless there are strong considerations of public interest which justify departure from this general rule. But the Post Office has a special problem, in that once a year a large number of casual staff has to be recruited over a very short period, and there is insufficient time to follow the usual course of taking up references before offering employment. These staffs have access both to the mails and to the working procedures of the Post Office, and, after careful consideration I am satisfied that in the interest of security they need to be screened. I am therefore asking chief officers of police to co-operate with local postmasters in checking the previous convictions, if any, of applicants for these posts. The decision whether to offer employment will continue to rest with the Post Office. As at present an applicant will be asked to disclose on the application form details of any previous convictions and will be left in no doubt that a check may be made.