HC Deb 13 December 1830 vol 1 cc1046-7
Sir R. Peel

presented a Petition from St. John's, Hampstead, expressing approbation of the New Police, but praying that there might be some reduction of the expense. The right hon. Baronet also presented a Petition from the inhabitants of Deptford, which bore important testimony to the public advantage of the new police. It would be admitted that nothing could be more important than that property should receive sufficient protection in such a town as Deptford. The petitioners stated, that before the establishment of the new police, Deptford had no public watchmen. It had some watchmen paid by private individuals; and the petitioners stated, that during that time burglaries were committed almost nightly; but that since the new police had been established, there had been only two attempts at burglaries, in one of which the burglars were taken almost on the spot. One of the great objections urged to the present system was its great increase of expense; and on that part of the case he begged the House to suspend its judgment until the committee for which he should move after the recess should have had time to examine and make its report. The hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Hume), who from the station he held must be considered as a high authority on local matters relating to the county, had stated that in the parish of Poplar, the rate of watching had been raised under the new police from 1,450l. to 5,540l. The hon. Member was correct as to the figures, but it should be known that a great part of that increase arose from these circumstances—that the West India Docks and part of the East-India Docks were included in that parish—that those Docks paid for their own watching before the new police were established, but that since then they consented to be rated for the new police, the commissioners having undertaken the charge of watching them. This made the increase appear so great, and though in figures, as it was stated, there appeared this great increase on the whole parish, the fact was, that a very great portion of it is to be paid by the Docks. This showed the necessity of hearing both sides of a case before a decision was pronounced. He had no doubt that in other cases explanations equally satisfactory would be given when they came to be inquired into.

Mr. Hume

said, that the petition from the parish in question had been presented by his hon. colleague. He had no disposition to exaggerate anything against the new police, for it was well known that he differed from those who objected to that system. In the statement he had made he only gave the information which was communicated to him by a deputation from the parish. He admitted that a committee would be the most effectual mode of deciding as to the real cause of the increase of expense.

Mr. Wilks

said, that in one parish, with nearly 18,000 inhabitants, the addition of a rate of 8d. for the new police was found so oppressive that the collectors could not collect even the ordinary rates.

Sir R. Peel

said, that a parish of such extent, and number of inhabitants, must have paid some rate for watching before, so that the whole rate of 8d. could not be an additional expense.

Petitions to he on the Table.