|Issue 4 - April 1972|
|Exercising Some Control|
Centre, in Elswick Road, is the headquarters of Newcastle's West End
Tenants Association. Every day voluntary workers are there to advise
and deal with problems of people living in the area.
On Saturday 18 March, as a committee meeting ended, two men were seen standing outside peering through the window. Workers at the centre, suspecting them of being plain clothes police, went out and asked them what they wanted. It was revealed that they were from the Vice Squad and were interested in some VD posters displayed in the centre as they had received a complaint.
The two men then went away. They made a phone call and returned a few minutes later accompanied by Sgt Loveday who is the Liaison Officer at the West End police station and as such is supposed to keep up good relations between police and public.
By this time only one male and two females still remained in the centre. They told the police that they could not enter without a warrant but although they did not have one they returned all the same. After some argument and strong objections from the two members of the centre whose names were taken, Sgt Loveday took down the posters. Giving no receipt the police then left with their haul of disgusting porn - three VD posters and some leaflets.
A few days before Sgt Loveday had been asked to leave a meeting of the tenants association and therefore was not on very good terms with them.
Inspector J Egleton, press officer for Northumberland police, said on the Monday that as a result of a complaint the police had, with the full co-operation of workers at the centre, taken some posters and literature away to establish their origin and whether they should be displayed in public.
The posters were designed by the government sponsored Health Education Council. This is printed on the bottom of each one. Issued by Newcastle's Medical Officer of Health, they carry no pictures or diagrams and simply outline symptoms and advice on treatment of VD. The leaflets were from the Family Planning Association and this is printed on each one. A Bill passed in 1970 makes it perfectly legal to display VD posters which is something the police should have known.
On Monday afternoon the police press officer stated that no further action would be taken and the posters were being returned, but he had neglected to tell the police at the West End because later that afternoon they told the centre that they did not know, as yet, whether action would be taken or whether the posters would be returned.
However, on Tuesday 21 March the posters and leaflets were returned by an officer who gave no apology. It seems that if you want to know what is obscene don't ask a policeman.
Elswick Action Centre, 143 Elswick Road is open from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Monday to Friday. Tel N/cle 39767
A week earlier Muther Grumble was informed by Durham police officers that we might be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act for an article that appeared in our February issue. The article intended to reveal and possibly put an end to the activities of pornographic photographers, and their use of young school girls, in the area. Ya can't win!
The police also thought we'd ripped off a bren gun (see editorial). What would we do with one of those?
Meanwhile back at Durham County Police Headquarters three male and three female cadets were dismissed for sleeping together. The three couples were all living at the Cadet Hostel at the time: "The last place you would want an orgy to take place", a police spokesman is quoted as having said.