HC Deb 12 April 1836 vol 32 cc915-7

Mr. Hume move for Returns of the expense of the Metropolitan and City Police Establishments for the last year. He had been one of a Committee which sat upon the subject of the police force for two years, and he had been happy to join that Committee in its approbation of the constitution and effici- ency of that force, being himself a friend to the great principle of consolidation in these institutions. He had, however, since made representations which he believed would, if followed up, have saved a considerable portion of the 200,000l. which this body of men—4,000 men at present— cost the public. It was singular that, after the admitted advantages derivable from the centralization and consolidation of the police force in the Metropolis, there should be a force, namely—the Mounted Patrole, which was not subject to the Metropolitan Police Commissioners, but was governed and controlled by a set of Magistrates, the most active of whom was a clerk of the Home Office. There were no less than nine police officers whose appointment devolved to the Magistrates including the River Thames District. The consequence was, there was a constant jealousy between the Magistrates' police and the Metropolitan, which too often displayed itself to the interruption of justice, and in a departure from that line of cordial co-operation which it was anticipated would have been the result of placing the whole police force under one controlling authority. If this were remedied he thought the expense of three or four hundred men might be saved, and there would be no occasion to vote the usual grant of 60,000l. yearly out of the Consolidated Fund. Owing to the jealousy of the City authorities, there was some difficulty in coming at the amount of charge made to the public for the City Police; but he hoped, that as the City would probably be brought this Session under the same wholesome regulations as other Corporations throughout the country, those difficulties would vanish, and no opposition would be offered to the project of consolidation and uniform control. The hon. Member moved for Returns of the expense of the Metropolitan Police, the City Police, the Mounted Patrole, and the Regulations of the Police Officers, with the fines and fees levied thereon for the last year.

Sir Thomas Freemantle

should not object to the motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, though he entertained some doubts as to the possibility of obtaining part of the information sought, particularly as regarded the police of the city of London. He admitted, that it was most desirable that the whole police force of the metropolis should be under one head.

Mr. Charles Ross

expressed his gratification at the manner in which the Police Bill had operated, and thought that it was most desirable that the officers at the head of the establishment should have the power of granting gratuitous rewards and pensions to persons belonging to the force who had conducted themselves in a manner to entitle themselves to such distinctions.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

entirely concurred, that the principle of remuneration ought to be extended; and it was most satisfactory to him to find, however persons might have differed in opinion as to the propriety of establishing the present system of police, that all parties now bore testimony to the admirable manner in which the force performed their duties. He believed the conduct of the Commissioners at the head of it had been such as to give entire satisfaction.

Colonel Sibthorp, having opposed the Bill for the establishment of the new police, said he should feel ashamed of himself if he did not now stand forward and bear his testimony to the very valuable services performed by the force; and he would say that more able men than the Commissioners did not exist.

Mr. Hume

said, he apprehended there would be no difficulty in obtaining the returns from the City of London, as alluded to by the hon. Baronet, because all Municipal Corporations were bound to obey the orders of that House. He begged to ask the Members of the Government whether, because he understood some such decision had been come to with respect to the constabulary of Ireland, it was true that officers on half-pay, who were to be employed in that force were not to be allowed to receive their half-pay? However this might be, he trusted that any rule established in this respect would be general, both as regarded England and Ireland.

The Returns were ordered.