HC Deb 11 February 1839 vol 45 cc246-7

Mr. Fox Maule moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the Police Acts, and improve the system of police in and near the metropolis. With respect to a union of the police of London and that of the other parts of the metropolis, the Government had received many recommendations and objections. Some parties were of opinion, that this union should have taken place in the first instance; but, so far from regretting, that it had not, he fully agreed, that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, by whom the new police were introduced, would not have been justified if he had made so extensive an experiment. With, however, an experience of ten years the case was very different, and the present Government felt, that the attempt was one which they would be warranted in making. There were provisions and details in this bill which would require considerable attention on the part of hon. Members, but at present all he felt it necessary to say was, that it was one of two bills which were intended to be introduced, having for their object the proper distinction between the judicial and ministerial functions of the police.

Colonel Sibthorp

said, that, however he might differ from the hon. Gentlemen opposite upon other points, he should say, that he thought such a bill would be productive of much advantage. The police were a most meritorious force, and he should feel it his duty to suggest at a future stage of the bill, that there should be an increase of the present amount of pay. When he considered the amount of pay in Bristol, in Liverpool, in Manchester, and other large towns, and when he recollected the efficiency of the London police force, he was convinced, that in justice to that body, they ought to increase the pay, for they had more arduous duties to perform, and they did so in a manner which gave universal satisfaction. At present they were ill requited for their important duty. He felt so strong a sense of the injustice which was done to the police force by insufficient remuneration, that he considered himself called upon to direct the attention of the House to the subject, and in doing so he should remark, that he never received a single complaint in relation to the pay from any one connected with that body. It was most important, that the House should adopt his suggestion, by which means they could ensure the services of a good and faithful body of men, whose conduct was such as to merit the praises of all. He should bring forward a suggestion to this effect at some future stage of the bill.

Sir R. Peel

wished to be informed whether the proposed bill was to be founded upon the report of the committee which had sat last year? The country was indebted to the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Lambeth, for the attention which he had devoted to the subject, and the information he had elicited. He apprehended, that the bill of the right hon. Gentleman had for its object the extension as far as possible, of the Metropolitan Police Act. That act had given the greatest satisfaction. Indeed, the only persons who had cause to be dissatisfied with it were the thieves and rogues. He apprehended, that the proposed bill would not materially alter an act which had been universally approved of, and which had been found so efficient,—Leave given.