HC Deb 13 June 1839 vol 48 cc212-6

On the motion of Lord John Russell, the House resolved itself into Committee on the Metropolis Police Bill.

On clause 3],

Captain Boldero

objected to it, because it provided that the superannuation fund, out of which the half-pay of the men would have to be paid, would accumulate out of stoppages from their pay in cases of sickness, of fines for assaults and other petty offences, and by the sale of their old clothing. It was especially unfair, he thought, that the proposed stoppages should form any part of the fund. Indeed, as the clause stood, the superannuation was no boon to the men, but their absolute right from their own contributions. They were an intelligent body of men, possessed of great physical and moral courage, and after the harassing servitude of fifteen years, were deserving of half-pay from the public as a matter of right, and not as a result of their own contribution. He had no amendment to offer, but threw out the suggestion to the framers of the bill.

Mr. Fox Maule

said, the clause had been inserted to enable the Commissioners to reward those who suffered in the service, or remained during the specified period—a power not previously possessed; and by a very trifling reduction, that of 50s. a-year from their pay, with the other items, they would, under the present bill, be provided for in the way they deserved.

Sir R. Peel

said, every encouragement should be given to the men. In this the public at large was deeply interested. Every inducement should be held out to respectable and well-behaved men to become members of the force; for upon them much of public liberty and safety depended, and the protection of property at all times, but most particularly so at night. It was unwise, therefore, to curtail them of their pay. And he did not think that they should have anything short of 52l. a-year; indeed, the sum first proposed to paid to them was 60l. a-year.

Mr. T. Duncombe

said, that, adding the fines for assaults and other minor cases to the superannuation fund was an inducement to the men to commit perjury.

Mr. Goulburn

rejoiced that the fines would go into the general fund, out of which the superannuations would be paid; and it was too much to suppose that the police would be guilty of false-swearing for so indirect a mode of contributing to their own superannuation, particularly when they would have to wait fifteen years for a chance of participation.

Lord John Russell

observed, that the necessity for the creation of a superannuation fund had been long obvious.

Clause agreed to.

On clause 47, which provides that all booths, caravans, and other places of entertainment at fairs, shall be shut at eleven o'clock in the evening, until six in the morning, and gives the police a power to take into custody the keeper of such place of entertainment, if kept open beyond eleven o'clock or before six, or any person present in such place of entertainment in violation of the Act, if he shall have refused to quit on being desired so to do; the clause further imposing a penalty of 5l. in the former case, and 2l. in the latter.

Colonel Sibthorp

opposed the motion as a most unnecessary and unwarrantable interference with the amusements of the public. He did not see why the people should not have as much right to stay at a fair as her Majesty's ministers had to go to Blackwall to eat whitebait. The hon. and gallant Member concluded by moving the omission of the clause.

The Committee divided, on the question that the clause stand part of the Bill.—Ayes 54: Noes 8: Majority 46:—

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, hon. G. R. Nagle, Sir R.
Aglionby, Major Norreys, Sir D. J.
Baring, F. T. Pigot, D.R.
Blair, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Butler, hon. Colonel Pryme, G.
Chester, H. Rice, E. R.
Clive, E. B. Rickford, W.
Craig, W. G. Rolfe, Sir R.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Rundle, J.
Darby, George Russell, Lord J.
Davies, Colonel Russell, Lord C.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Smith, B.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Steuart, R.
Hawes, B. Stewart, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Stock, Dr.
Hope, G. W. Tancred, H. W.
Horsman, E. Teignmouth, Lord
Kemble, H. Vigors, N. A.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Warburton, H.
Law, hon. C. E. Williams, W. A.
Litton, E. Wood, Sir M.
Mackenzie, T. Wood, T.
Macleod, R. Young, J.
Marsland, H.
Maule, hon. F. TELLERS.
Melgund, Lord Visct. Dalmeny, Lord Parker, J.
Morris, D.
List of the NOES.
Barnard, E. G. Salwey, Colonel
Dundas, C. W. D. Talfourd, Mr. Sergt.
Finch, F. Williams, W.
Hodgson, R. TELLERS.
Knatchbull, right hon. Sir E. Sibthorp, Colonel Duncombe, T.

Clause agreed to;

On Clause 67,

Mr. T. Duncombe

thought, that the section which inflicts a punishment of fourteen days' imprisonment on persons found drunk in the streets should be altered, so that such punishment should not be inflicted in the case of labouring men. Hitherto the discretion vested in the magistrates had been but too generally exercised in favour of the higher classes. However, he thought the whole clause objectionable, because it was confined to a particular locality. It was absurd, that a man should be imprisoned for drunkenness in London, while he might go down, to Windsor and get drunk without being liable to any other punishment than a finer of five shillings.

The clause was amended by the substitution of" seven," days for "fourteen."

The Committee divided on the clause—Ayes 75; Noes 7: Majority 66.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby,hon.G.R. Noel, hon. W. M.
Aglionby, Major O'Connell, J.
Alsager, Capt. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Archbold, R. Pigot, D. R.
Bailey, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Baines, E. Pringle, A.
Baring, F. T. Rae, rt. hon. Sir W.
Barry, G. S. Rice, E. R.
Beamish, F. B. Rickford, W.
Bewes, T. Round, C. G.
Blake, W. J. Rundle, J.
Busfeild, W. Russell, Lord J.
Chalmers, P. Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A.
Clive, E. B. Salwey, Colonel
Collier, J. Sandon, Lord Visct.
Colquhoun, J. C. Scholefield, J.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Scrope, G. P.
Davies, Colonel Sheppard, T.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Elliot, hon. John E. Somerset, Lord G.
Filmer, Sir E. Steuart, R.
Finch, F. Stock, Dr.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Strutt, E.
Hawes, B. Talfourd, Mr. Sergt.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Teignmouth, Lord
Hindley, C. Thorneley, T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Vigors, N. A.
Hodgson, R. Wallace, R.
Hope, G. W. Warburton, H.
Horsman, E. White, A.
Howick, Lord Visct. Wilbraham, G.
Hutton, R. Williams, W. A.
Kemble, H. Winnington, T. E.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Wood, C.
Knatchbull, rt. hon. Sir E. Wood, Sir M.
Wood, G. W.
Law, hon. C. E.
Marsland, H. TELLERS.
Morris, D. Maule, F.
Nicholl, J. Rolfe, Sir R.
List of the NOES.
Craig, W. G. Williams, W.
Dundas, C. W. D. Wood, T.
Pechell, Capt. TELLERS.
Sibthorp, Colonel Duncombe, T.
Smith, B. Darby, Mr.

Upon clause 68,

Mr. Williams

said, it was very inconsistent. The penalties affixed by these clauses to petty offences, did not extend to the city of London. He believed, indeed, the noble Lord would not venture to attempt such an extension, or he would be frightened out of it the next day, and be counselled by the hon. Alderman below him (Sir M. Wood), to abandon it, in order to conciliate the good will of the citizens of London.

Mr. Fox Maule

said, it was intended to introduce clauses which would have the effect of including the city, on the bringing up of the report.

Mr. C. Law

complained that this would be a violation of the pledge given to the city. It was promised, that the principle of the new enactment should not be introduced into the city; but it seemed to be intended to introduce the substance of it in details.

Mr. Fox Maule

said, that the pledge applied to the management of the police force, which would be left with the city. But there was no pledge to exempt the city from any changes that Parliament might think fit to make in the criminal law.

Sir Matthew Wood

said, that when the clauses extending this part of the enactment to the city were brought up, he would be happy to support them.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed. Bill reported.

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