MR. FORTESCTJE HARRISON
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been attracted to a paragraph in the last Annual Report of the Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, in which that officer says—In two counties, Perth and Renfrew, a system prevails of swearing in as constables certain individuals, principally gamekeepers. These constables are not special constables under the Special Constable Act, nor are they under the General Police Act, but they are sworn in by the justices under the Act 22nd James VI., 1617. These men, though not in any way under the control or orders of the chief constable, have all the powers conferred on constables, not only under the Poaching Prevention Act, but under every other Act of Parliament. It appears to me that this is a violation of the spirit of the General Police Act, which evidently intends that the chief constable is, subject to the control of the sheriff and the justices, to have the complete command of the criminal officers of the county;and, if so, whether the Right Honourable Gentleman purposes taking any measures for an alteration of the system so reported on?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
, in reply, said, that his attention had been directed to the Report mentioned, deprecating the practice of swearing in gamekeepers to act as constables, which prevailed in Perthshire and Renfrewshire. He was endeavouring to ascertain whether such a practice was legal; and, if not, he would take steps to put an end to it.