HC Deb 14 February 1873 vol 214 c437

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether since the retirement of Sir Richard Mayne the Metropolitan Police have been without legal guidance in the initiation of important prosecutions; and whether, if that be so, it is desirable, in the opinion of the Government, that such a state of things should continue?


in reply, said, the Chief Commissioner of Police enjoyed the same powers and had the same legal assistance as was given in the time of Sir Richard Mayne. Sir Richard Mayne, being then a barrister, was associated with an officer in the Army at the time of the formation of the Metropolitan Police, and on the retirement of Colonel Rowan Sir Richard Mayne became Chief Commissioner, and remained so, as was well known, for many years. During that time he laid it down as a principle of action not to act on his own opinion as a lawyer, but, when legal questions arose, to take a legal opinion. In important prosecutions lie always had recourse to the Law Officers of the Crown. In all matters relating to the construction of Acts of Parliament he had recourse to the legal firm who were still the advisers of the Commissioners of Police. He must say that the system which had worked well in the time of Sir Richard Mayne worked well at the present moment, and lie saw no reason to change it.

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