HC Deb 05 May 1870 vol 201 cc272-3

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he can give the House any information as to the working of the Habitual Criminals Act; and whether he will, before the close of the Session, lay any Papers upon the Table to illustrate the working of that Act?


Sir, the amount of accurate information possessed by the Home Office on this subject is not very considerable, although the general statement received, both with respect to the metropolis and several large towns, such as Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Leeds, is satisfactory. The number of persons registered as having committed offences in the first Schedule of the Act since it came into force on the 9th of August last, up to the 28th of March, for England and Wales, excluding the metropolis, is 9,776, and ii the metropolis, 2,501—making altogether, 12,277. Of these, 1,155, having been previously convicted, are subject to police supervision. Other offences were created under the Act. I have received this morning a Return from several considerable towns up to the 28th of March; but I have not yet had time to examine it. In the metropolis and police district there have been convicted of receiving stolen property under the Act, 30; of harbouring thieves, eight; of purchasing metal, six; of assaults on the police, where the sentences exceed two months, 64; and the number of suspected persons, loitering vagrants, &c., is 287. The reports from Birmingham and other large towns speak very encouragingly of the operation of the Act. The mere apprehension of the enforcement of the Act has had a beneficial influence. Before the end of the Session I shall have an opportunity, in introducing an Amendment of the Habitual Criminals Act, to communicate to the House full information on the subject.