HC Deb 09 May 1856 vol 142 cc293-309

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 6 (On establishment of an efficient Police, one-fourth of the charge for pay and clothing to be paid by the Treasury.)

SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE moved to leave out so much of Clause 6 as made the payment by the Treasury of a portion of the charge for the police, in counties and boroughs, dependent upon the certificate of the Secretary of State. He did not think it necessary that the Secretary of State should step in to say that the rate had not been properly applied, and that proper persons had not been appointed, and that, therefore, the ratepayers should be deprived of one-fourth of the expenses, which one-fourth was, under ordinary circumstances, to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. He believed that his Amendment would not make the Bill less efficient, while it would deprive the Secretary of State of such arbitrary power.


said, he should be extremely glad if the power given to the Secretary of State could be dispensed with; but the object of the Bill in proposing to grant money for the police was to carry out the efficiency of the police; but the effect of the Amendment would be to make it necessary for the Government to issue orders for grants of public money, whether the police were efficient or not. He could not take upon himself any such duty. He was ready, if any additional check could be imposed, to provide it as to the power of the inspectors. There had been a suggestion of the right hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring), that the Report should be transmitted from the inspectors to the Government, and by the Government to the proper authorities; but such suggestions could not be inserted in an Act of Parliament; it would be difficult to find words for them. He was, however, prepared to insert a clause to the effect, that when a certificate for expenses was refused a statement of the ground of such refusal should be laid before Parliament. This he thought would meet the difficulty.


could not support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Sir W. Jolliffe), because he thought that, in cases where a grant was made from the public funds, some security should be provided that that grant was properly applied; and he was also of opinion that the proviso suggested by the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) would go a long way towards meeting the objections made to the clause. However, he (Sir J. Pakington) thought that the clause was still open to objection; for, though the inspectors would no doubt be very respectable persons, they might make reports that might be very much objected to by the parties locally interested. The proviso of the right hon. Gentleman did not meet that. Justice required that, before the grant was withheld, those parties who should suffer by the withholding of it should be heard—that the Secretary of State should communicate the report of the inspectors to the local authorities in boroughs and counties, and call on them for an explanation. In case that explanation were not satisfactory there could be an intimation that if the police force were not placed in a more satisfactory state the grant would be withdrawn.


thought that the course suggested by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Pakington) was the very one which a Secretary of State would take; but there was a difficulty in defining by a clause the particular modus operandi.


considered that, in cases where the report of the inspectors was unfavourable, it would only be fair that the parties concerned should have the opportunity, not only by the equity of the Secretary of State, but by the law of the land, of making an answer to it.


said, that although he had in the Committee on this Bill differed from the majority, yet, as the House had affirmed the principle of the Bill, he thought it his duty to make the measure as good as it was possible to make it. If the principle of a compulsory contribution to the police was to be established, it was necessary that there should be an inspectorship; and, if so, there must be reports from the inspectors in order to show that the whole police system was working upon a uniform principle throughout the country.


was of opinion, that if the House could now go into the consideration of the hon. Member for Norfolk's (Mr. Bentinek's) Amendment, much time would be saved. He thought there should be a minimum as to the number of police fixed by the Act. If this were not done, and the clause now before the House stood as it was, the inspector sent to a particular county or borough, might be of opinion that the number of police was not sufficient; and thus the inhabitants, after having gone on for a year, might find themselves deprived of the contribution of one-fourth, which was to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. Again, this grant might be withheld on the report of the inspectors that the police force was not in an efficient state of discipline, though the magistrates had no control over the chief constable, and that officer could not be appointed without the sanction of the Secretary of State, who thereby became responsible for his appointment. [Sir G. GREY: The magistrates may dismiss him.] That was true; but they would have no control over him in matters of discipline, and, therefore, he thought that the present arrangement was not a satisfactory one. At all events the number of police ought to be fixed, and not left to the capricious judgment of local parties and inspectors, who might arrive, respectively, at such opposite conclusions. He thought also, that the report of the inspector should be sent in the first instance to the authorities of the police, so that they might have an opportunity of being heard before the Secretary of State gave his final judgment upon the matter.


said, that if the report of the inspector was dealt with as had just been proposed, it would be placing the entire power in the hands of the magistrates. He did not concur with those who imagined that the Secretary of State was likely to interfere every time that a case was brought before him by the report of the inspector. He was not at all likely to incur the trouble and animosity consequent upon such interference, in which he would be sure to be accused of unfairness and partiality. The danger was in the contrary direction—that owing to all those difficulties, the Secretary of State would interfere too little. He should be glad to see a measure established, at least in regard to numbers. He should vote for the clause as it stood.


said, that without a minimum he could not imagine anything more dangerous than the power given to the Secretary of State. It was placing in his hands an army of policemen to any amount. The power of fining given by the Bill without trial seemed to be intolerable, for the way in which the rates were to be levied, in the case of a police reported insufficient, amounted to a fine.


thought that the Government would be neglecting their duty, if they did not insist upon the right of inspection. He admitted that some difficulty would arise upon the question of numbers; but that was a reason why the Amendment of which he had given notice should be adopted.


thought that if the suggestions of the right hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring), were acted upon, the other suggestions that had been made would fall into the background. Where a police force had been recently established, and Government had approved of a certain number in proportion to the population, it would be perfectly unreasonable that they should listen to the representations of an inspector that the number there was insufficient. He granted, however, that if the county, district, or borough, went on a long time resisting what was a case of emergency for increasing the number, then the case would have arisen in which the Government ought to refuse their aid. So also with respect to the question of discipline the same rule should apply. He attached great importance to the reports of the inspectors being well checked, and he hoped the Secretary of State would endeavour to give rather more effect to the suggestion of Sir F. Baring than was given by the Bill in its present shape.


said, it appeared to him that the only penalty for not adopting the Bill would be, that the county or borough omitting or refusing so to do, would not get the money; but in some instances this would be a positive advantage and saving of expense to the locality. He confessed, however, that the Bill completely puzzled him. Take the West Hiding of Yorkshire for instance. There they had no rural police. Pass the Bill, and send it down to them. How were they to be compelled to adopt it? Why, they were not bound to appoint any number of constables unless they liked, which meant that they would not get any money unless they complied with the recommendations of the inspectors. The fact was, he believed, that the same anomalous state of things would exist after the passing of the Bill as they found to prevail now.


said, that all counties that had adopted a police had found it an efficient one, and he felt confident that if the Bill passed in its present shape, an efficient police would be appointed in those which had not yet adopted one.


was decidedly of opinion that the inspectors' report should be furnished to the justices or other parties who were accused. He did not think that the certificate should be required for the first year after the passing of the Bill; for in all probability, when they came to bring the new force into action, it would be without discipline or efficiency, and possibly be insufficient in number; but surely it would be very hard at the expiration of only a year for the Secretary of State to refuse his certificate to the Treasury merely upon the report of the inspector, but if any deficiency was reported afterwards, he saw no reason why the reports of the inspectors to that effect should not be acted upon by the Government.


objected to the clause, that a large amount of the public taxes—from £200,000 to £300,000—was given when nobody asked for it, and when there was an efficient police in all boroughs and in most counties.


thought that discipline might very easily be dealt with, but the difficulty would be with regard to numbers. This made it important to fix a minimum of numbers.


said, it was difficult to fix a general minimum, because the population varied so much in counties; but, since it seemed to be the general feeling of the Committee that an arbitrary power should not be vested in the Secretary of State, without giving the parties affected by the Report an opportunity of answering the grounds upon which it was made, he had proposed a proviso, which he proposed should be annexed to the clause in these words— That, before any such certificate shall be finally withheld with respect to the police in any county or borough, the Report of the Inspector relating thereto shall be sent to the Justices of the county or to the watch committee of the borough, and they may address any statement to the Secretary of State in every case where the certificate is withheld, and the grounds upon which the Secretary of State refuses such certificate, together with any such statement, shall be laid before Parliament.

A statement from the Justices or watch committee might remove objections; but if the Secretary of State persisted in withholding the certificate, the statement and the grounds upon which the Secretary acted would be laid before Parliament.


said, the proviso of the right hon. Gentleman came so near to the suggestion he had made, that he was quite satisfied with it.


also observed, that the objections which he entertained to the clause were very much removed by the proviso. At the same time, he thought the clause was one which there would be extreme difficulty in carrying out. He would not, however, put the Committee to the trouble of dividing.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


proposed, in that section of the clause which provides that the Commissioners of the Treasury shall pay such sum towards the expenses of the police "as shall not exceed one-fourth of the charge for their pay and clothing," to substitute the words, "one-half" for "one-fourth." In his view, the object of this Bill was to establish a compulsory system of police in England and Wales, and he thought the proposed contribution from the Treasury of one-fourth of the cost of such force was not sufficient. He might remind the Committee, that a very large sum of money was now paid by the State for police purposes. A great portion of the Irish police, a certain portion of the metropolitan police, and the stipend Magistrates of London and Dublin were maintained by a charge upon the Consolidated Fund, amounting to nearly £800,000 annually. It must be remembered that the ratepayers of England and Wales contributed their proportion to the taxation from which that charge was defrayed; and he maintained that, if a police force was established compulsorily, it was not consistent with principles of equity and justice to throw three-fourths of the cost of such police upon the ratepayers. The ratepayers of England and Wales constituted a very small proportion—not more than one-sixteenth—of the whole population, and the property upon which they were rated did not comprise more than one-fifth of the property existing in those districts of the kingdom. Was it right, then, to charge three-fourths of the expense of maintaining the new police force upon one-sixteenth of the population and upon one-fifth of the property of the kingdom? The rateable property of England and Wales was estimated at £63,000,000 or £64,000,000, upon which, in the shape of poor rate, county rates, and other similar taxation, a property tax of 10 or 12 per cent was levied. Indeed, the local taxation amounted to a charge of 16 or 18 per cent upon rateable property, and from such charge the whole personal property of the country, which was precisely that description of property requiring the protection of police, was entirely exempted. It was a difficult matter to ascertain accurately the amount of personal property in England and Wales, but it was estimated by Mr. Porter and other eminent statisticians at £2,500,000,000. It was indisputable that there was an enormous mass of property which did not contribute a single shilling to any one of the local rates; and, he asked, what right they had to impose the new burden proposed by this Bill upon the ratepayers who were owners of a particular description of property? He would ask the Committee to consider who were the ratepayers of this country. If they took £100 of rate, it would be found that four-tenths of it were levied upon men occupying houses and buildings, comprising many just above positive want, but who were struggling for a livelihood; five-tenths were levied upon persons engaged in agricultural pursuits, who were rated according to the amount of their produce; and the remaining one-tenth was imposed upon mines and other descriptions of property. How, then, could the right hon. Home Secretary justify his proposition that the owners of a particular class of property should be called upon to provide for the protection of life and property, which was an obligation resting upon the nation? He hoped those principles of justice which uniformly influenced the House in dealing with questions of taxation would induce the Committee to adopt his Amendment.

Amendment proposed in page 6, line 3, to leave out, "one-fourth," and insert "one-half."


said, the hon. Baronet seemed to suppose that the object of this clause was to impose a direct burden upon all the rateable property of the country, whereas its object was to exempt rateable property from charges to which it was now legally liable, and to defray those charges partially from the Consolidated Fund. The hon. Baronet raised the whole question of local taxation, and asked the Committee to agree to his Amendment, on the ground that a great portion of the property of the country was altogether exempted from such taxation. That question had been frequently discussed in the House; and he (Sir G. Grey) believed they had, by general consent, arrived at the conclusion that it was impossible to subject personal property to the taxation which was applied to real property, and that although personal property was exempt from rating, it was almost always enjoyed in connection with houses or land; and, therefore, those who paid in respect of their houses or land, did, in fact, enjoy the protection of the police for their personal property. The hon. Gentleman had shown no good reason for substituting one-half for one-fourth, and the Government, after consideration, were of opinion that the proposition they recommended was fair and liberal. The hon. Gentleman's argument, indeed, would go to throw the whole of the local taxation of the country on the general revenue. The Government thought one-fourth a fair proportion for the relief of local taxation, and they hoped the Committee would sustain them in this proposal. If, however, the Committee should adopt the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, the Government would have to consider whether they were justified in proceeding with the Bill or not.


thought it obvious that the great proportion of the property stolen was personal property.


said, he could not think that the right hon. Gentleman had met the argument of his hon. Friend (Sir H.Willoughby). The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that if they adopted the Amendment, the Government would be obliged to withdraw the Bill. [Sir G. GREY: No, I did not say that]. The right hon. Baronet said that the hon. Gentleman had failed to adduce any argument in favour of his Motion, but neither had the right hon. Gentleman given a specific reason for adopting the proposition he had recommended. Indeed, taking the figures of his hon. Friend, it seemed doubtful whether the proportion borne by the Consolidated Fund should not he four-fifths or fifteen-sixteenths of the whole.


said, that although the hon. Gentleman's Amendment only went to substitute one-half for one-fourth, his principle, if carried out, would abolish the entire system of local taxation. ["No!"] If the hon. Gentleman's argument were good for anything, it was good for imposing the whole charge on the general revenue. The hon. Gentleman not only said that the police rate ought not to be an exclusive charge upon real property, but that the poor rate, the county rate, and the borough rate ought also not to be exclusively borne by real property. He could only say that, if that principle were adopted, the House would find itself under the necessity of adding £15,000,000 to the annual Ways and Means to be voted by the House. He did not know the hon. Gentleman's authority for the statement, that the ratepayers were only one-sixteenth of the population, and that they held only one-fifth part of the property of the country. But it was clear that the ratepayers were by far a more numerous class than any class that was liable to direct taxation. They were not so numerous, of course, as those who paid indirect taxation, because the indirect taxes were paid by the whole population. But every occupier of land or houses, however small, was by law rateable, and he could only escape the rate by being struck off by the magistrate on the ground of poverty. The question, then, was whether they would transfer these £14,000,000 or £15,000,000 from the ratepayers to the Queen's taxes. What would the House think if it were proposed to add £10,000,000 to the income tax? The income tax was now at the rate of £6 13s. 4d. per cent, and to raise it £10,000,000, the House must increase it by l0d. in the pound, each penny in the pound raising it about £1,000,000. Would any hon. Gentleman contend that if the income tax were raised to this amount, it would be a less grievous burden than the local rates which were distributed over so large a portion of the population? Let any Chancellor of the Exchequer try to double or treble the assessed taxes, the house tax, the taxes on tea, coffee, and sugar. Let him try to impose a tax on salt, or taxes from any other source, and he would find that the commutation of taxation recommended by the hon. Gentleman was anything but a relief. [Sir H. WILLOUGHBY: I recommended no such thing]. But if the principle laid down by the hon. Gentleman were carried into effect it would be anything but an advantage to the country. The Government had been asked why they had taken one-fourth rather than one-half? The Government had taken the example of the Metropolitan Police Act, where the rate was fixed at a maximum of 8d. in the pound, of which 6d. was paid by the parishes and 2d. by the Government. That arrangement had been acquiesced in by the parishes since 1829. If one-fourth were a fair proportion to be borne by the parishes in the case of the metropolis, where the police were employed in attending upon the Houses of Parliament, great ceremonials, and similar, public purposes, it could not be said to be an unreasonable proportion to be paid by the county rate. He trusted that the Committee would not agree to vote a larger sum than £200,000 out of the Consolidated Fund for this purpose. His right hon. Friend the Home Secretary had stated that if the Motion of the hon. Baronet were adopted, it would become a serious question with the Government whether they ought to proceed any further with this Bill; but he had not said that they had come to any positive determination on the subject. What his right hon. Friend had declared was, that the Government regarded this as an important part of their measure, which had been proposed after mature deliberation, and that if this Amendment were carried it would be a matter of grave doubt with them whether they ought to persevere any longer with the Bill.


said, the real question before the Committee was, whether it was reasonable to add £200,000 a year to the sum which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was ready to award to the counties. A larger amount than that would be saved to the Government by the suspension of transportation—the risk consequent upon which measure would he thrown upon the public; and therefore it would be only fair that an allowance of 50 instead of 25 per cent should be made to the counties. The Government would be gainers, in a pecuniary sense, by such an arrangement. Chancellors of the Exchequer were naturally very jealous guardians of the Consolidated Fund; but it was unjust to press so severely as was done upon the real property of the country, which financiers seemed to view as an excellent milch cow, to be drawn upon to whatever extent their convenience or their fancy might dictate. Land was now burdened with £14,000,000 of local taxation, in addition to which its owners had to contribute in common with all other classes to the imposts on articles of consumption; and beyond all question it was worse used than any other kind of property in the kingdom. All he asked for real estate was justice, not encouragement; and the same principle which warranted the concession of 25 per cent was equally good for conceding 50. The rural police of Lancashire cost £40,000 a year, and yet it was not better looked after than Yorkshire, which possessed no such force. If Parliament, however, insisted on the general adoption of a rural police, the proportion of the expense borne by the Consolidated Fund could not in equity be less than 50 per cent.


thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the triumphant case he had made out for granting to the metropolitan parishes more than the 25 per cent. He denied that the object was to keep down the grants to counties, but contended that if £200,000 were granted to the ratepayers of counties, the same relief ought to be given to the ratepayers of the metropolis. Of course there were always a great number of persons and a great deal of property protected which no rate could touch, and it was exactly that class of property and persons which involved the necessity of establishing an efficient police. For the worst description of house property seldom paid anything to the rates, and the tenants were but too often composed of those who added to the crime of the country. All classes were benefited by the establishment of the police, the taxes of the country were very fairly demanded for their establishment, and certainly he had heard no reason for supposing that the one-fourth was the right proportion to be given by Government.


said, he did not think it necessary to go into the whole question of local taxation, however important; but it was desirable to consider whether this Bill laid a heavy burden on the ratepayers. He dared say that hon. Gentlemen opposite would be very much shocked, but really he did not think that the county rates ought to be relieved by sixpence. The second Report of the Committee on this subject showed that the establishment of a rural police was of the greatest advantage to the country. Surely, then, it was a peculiarly modest request to make on their part that the country should pay half the expense of its establishment, when the evidence before the Committee went to prove that the establishment of rural police had not cost the counties a farthing; and the Report itself stated that its adoption had been attended with advantages both of a moral and an economical character. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had himself stated that he would give much more for landed property in a county which had a police force than in one which had it not. If this was true, he could not understand why hon. Gentlemen should ask for 50 per cent out of the public revenue as compensation for the introduction of a system which was not only economical in itself, but actually improved the value of their property.


having had much practical experience in the transaction of county business, could state that he had frequently been oblighed to fight against the suggestions of inspectors, who had little or no practical knowledge of their business, but merely wished to exercise their authority. He objected to giving them power to enforce their suggestions by enabling them to exercise a control over the payment of these charges.


was opposed to the payment of one-fourth of the expenses by the Treasury, as it was founded on a bad principle. The hon. Baronet's proposal was merely a concealed system of communism; he wished, in effect, to place a large sum in the middle of the table, and let everybody grasp at it. The promised contribution from the Consolidated Fund was a "sop" to propitiate the county Members, who otherwise would have offered such resistance to the measure as would have insured its rejection. As it was, they had seen the opposition gradually melt away, and though furious at first, they next became mild, and ended by giving their support to the Bill. Nevertheless it might be well questioned whether it had rendered the Bill more worthy the acceptance of the House. The proposal to send down to the counties and boroughs a Government inspector, on whose fiat the grant should depend, was highly objectionable. The inspector would be to all intents and purposes the commander of the police, and his interference would be most detrimental as depriving the resident gentry of the inducement they at present possessed to look after the public interest of their respective localities. It was a fatal argument against the Bill that it would militate against that principle of self-government to which the English race in all parts of the world were so devotedly attached, and which had been of such inestimable value to them in forming their national character and fitting them for the enjoyment of the rights and liberties they so dearly prized. All encroachments on that principle were to be viewed with grave alarm.


observed, that the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. E. B. Denison), was mistaken in supposing that the contribution from the Consolidated Fund was to be justified on the ground of a saving occasioned to the Government by the abolition of transportation. True, there had been, consequent on that measure, a saving of colonial expenditure, but the advantage thus acquired was counterbalanced by the increased outlay for prisons and convict establishments at home.


said, the objection taken by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Roebuck) raised a question of great political importance; but the House had decided in favour of the principle of the Bill. The present question was far more narrow. It was merely a question of amount or degree, the principle of an allowance out of the Consolidated Fund being admitted. Attempts at rating stock-in-trade had been discontinued, not because it was unjust, but because it was impracticable. To compensate for that it was just to make allowance out of the Consolidated Fund in aid of county rates; and the only question was as to the proportion to be adopted. No answer had been offered to the argument that personal property was most protected by a police.


supported the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir H. Willoughby) observing that, if any portion of the police expenditure were to be defrayed from the national Exchequer, he deemed it the simpler and more equitable arrangement that the Government grant should cover one-half of the whole disbursement.


said, that the Government being pledged to the principle of a contribution from the Treasury, the only question to be decided was that of amount. Precedent justified a grant equivalent to one half of the whole expenditure. The case of the Irish police was strictly in point. On the institution of that force the Government contributed in the proportion of one-half of the expense incurred. In gaols, although not nominally, yet really, the Government paid one-half of the cost of that class of prisoners for whom they paid at all. The only reason which had been assigned for fixing the proportion by this Bill at one-fourth was, that that was the proportion of the cost of the metropolitan police which was paid by the Government.


denied that he was one of those who had accepted the proposition of the Government as a sop. He should vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Evesham, and if that were rejected he should then go with the hon. Member for Sheffield, that no allowance should be made from the Consolidated Fund. The police ought to be a local force, carried out under local superintendence and by local taxation.


said, he agreed in deprecating the abolition of local self-control; but as the Bill was forced down their throats against their wills he should vote for the Amendment. It was not one-fourth of the whole charge which the Government offered, but only of a portion, and it would not amount to more than one-sixth of the whole charge. He thought one-half was the proper proportion.

Question put "That one-fourth stand part of the Clause.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 160; Noes 106: Majority 54.


then moved the addition of the following proviso:— "Provided always, that the police force for any county or borough shall be deemed efficient in point of numbers in all cases where there shall be one police-constable for such county or borough to every 1,500 of the population, according to the last census then made."


objected to the proviso. There were many counties in which such an arrangement would cause considerable additional expense. The matter had better be left to the Justices of the Peace, who were the most competent judges of what police were required.


said, it was quite impossible to fix any minimum, and, even if it were, one in 1,500 of the population would be quite inadequate in very many boroughs, to say nothing of counties.

Proviso negatived.

Clause 11.

MR. ROEBUCK moved that the clause be omitted altogether. His object would be to place the whole police force of the country in the hands of the Administration for the time being. He objected to the clause, as he believed its tendency would be to make the Secretary of State for the Home Department a second Fouché, with spies all over the kingdom. The Queen's taxes were paid, for the most part, by the hard-working population of the towns, and he strongly objected to those taxes being used for the purpose of relieving the burdens of the counties. He appealed to the House whether they would support self-government, which had hitherto prevailed in this country, or whether they would throw themselves, body and soul, into the hands of the Government.


thought there was enough spirit and right feeling in the various counties throughout England to enable them to manage their own police, and that the Government were paying the magistracy a very bad compliment by endeavouring to cram this Bill down their throats.

Question put, "That Clause 11, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 186; Noes 75: Majority 111.

Clause amended, agreed to.


then moved that the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.


said, considering the length of time they had spent to-night in a miscellaneous discussion, he hoped they would be allowed to go on with the Bill.

Motion negatived.

Clause 12.

LORD EDWARD HOWARD moved to leave out Clause 12. The clause provided that no borough under 5,000 inhabitants should receive any portion of the police expenditure from the Consolidated Fund, unless the police of those towns was incorporated with the county constabulary. There were 196 towns in England and Wales under the Municipal Corporation Act, and of these there were no fewer than sixty-four that had fewer than 5,000 inhabitants. He did not urge that these towns should receive Government assistance unless they had an efficient police; but he believed that in most of these boroughs there was already an efficient police—certainly there was in the borough that he represented.


said, the real question was, whether in these small boroughs, some of which had a population of not more than 2,000, there could be an efficient police unless the police of those boroughs was incorporated with that of the county. He thought it was obvious they could not. If they chose to maintain their own police, they could do so without any great expense.

Clause agreed to; Clauses 13 to 15 agreed to; Clause 16 struck out; Clause 17 agreed to.

The Committee then proceeded to the consideration of the new clauses, of which notice had been given.


, after Clause 2, proposed to insert a clause:— That the Justices of the Peace of every county in England and Wales may, at the next or any subsequent general or quarter sessions after the passing of this Act, and so from time to time thereafter as they shall deem expedient, appoint, for such time as they shall think proper, a sufficient number of Justices, who shall be the police committee or committees for such county, and may, till the next general or quarter sessions, delegate to such committee or committees all or any of the powers as to the police force within such county, which, by the two first recited Acts, or by this Act, are given to the Justices in general or quarter sessions, except as to the increase or diminution of the number of constables, and the appointment or dismissal of any chief constable or his deputy, and may from time to time re-appoint, amend, or discontinue the appointment of such committee or committees, and all the powers given to such committee or committees may be executed by the majority of those who shall be present at the meeting of such committee or committees, the whole number present being not less than three.


objected to the clause.

Clause negatived.


proposed to insert a clause enabling the County Justices, in quarter sessions, to grant a retiring gratuity to any constable who should be certified by the chief constable to be incapable, from some infirmity of mind or body, of discharging his duties, although such constable should not have served so long as fifteen years.

Clause agreed to.


then proposed a clause providing that, in any case where the superannuation fund, mentioned in the Act of the 3 & 4 Vict, was insufficient to pay the superannuation and retiring allowances and the gratuities authorised by this Bill, the deficiency should be defrayed by the police-rate of the district. The clause was only introduced out of abundant caution, and if the superannuation fund should continue solvent, this clause would be inoperative.


thought the inadequacy of the superannuation fund ought not to be made up at the expense of the ratepayers.

Clauses agreed to.

MR. R. PALMER moved the insertion of a clause making it lawful for the magistrates to grant retiring pensions to such officers as might be removed from their appointments in consequence of their duties being transferred by this Bill to persons belonging to the police establishment; he particularly instanced the inspectors of weights and measures.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

SIR PHILIP EGERTON moved a clause to continue the powers of the Cheshire Constabulary Act, 1852, in force in that county until police should be established under this Act, and to enact various necessary provisions in respect thereto.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

LORD HOTHAM moved a clause giving power to add strong rooms in connexion with station-houses already erected.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

House resumed.

Bill reported as amended.

The House adjourned at Two o'clock, till Monday, the 19th May.