HC Deb 04 July 1889 vol 337 cc1449-50
MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, how many extra police are stationed in the County Waterford, and at what cost to the ratepayers; what is the number of police allotted to the County Waterford by the police regulations, and has the full number allowed by such regulations been employed in the county before a tax for extra police was imposed upon the ratepayers; is it the case that in English counties there is on an average only one policemen to every 1,250 people, and whether in Irish counties, with less ordinary crime, we have one policeman to every 330 people; with the view of ascertaining why the County Waterford has been, and is, charged with extra police, will he have the attention of the Constabulary Authorities drawn to a charge delivered by Judge Waters on the 3rd January, 1888, in addressing the Quarter Sessions Grand Jury, in which he used the following language: The amount of crime from the county and city investigated in this Court during the year 1887 has been, I may say, insignificant. You know, I presume that I am County Court Judge of two other counties, Cavan and Leitrim. These three counties represent a large area, inhabited by 332,616 people, and may be considered representative of the whole country. I have procured the last published statistics of the United Kingdom, and they show the number of committals in England and Wales were 13,856, which gives the rate of one committal to 1,011 people. The population of my three counties is 332,616, so that to make crime in these three counties equal to crime in England the number of committals should be 174, whereas they amount only to 114 (including quarter sessions and assizes), so that our crime is only 63 per cent of the crime in England. In Scotland the committals were 2,535, which gives the proportion of one committal to every 1,473 people. In order that the proportion of our crime should equal that of Scotland the number of committals here should be 225, but they are only 114; I find the rate of convictions in England and Scotland nearly the same. 77 per cent. of the committals, and, strange to say, the rate of convictions in Waterford is almost identical, differing only by an inconsiderable decimal. In Leitrim the rate of convictions is 82 per cent. of the committals; whether it is a fact that, at the period referred to in Judge Waters' address, which was before the passing of the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, the ratepayers were called upon to pay for extra police; and, what now justifies the employment of extra police in the County Waterford?


The Constabulary Authorities report that there are 34 extra police stationed in the County of Waterford, of whom 16 men were appointed on the requisition of the local Magistrates for the performance of ordinary duty, and 18 on the Lord Lieutenant's proclamation when the county was proclaimed as disturbed in 1882. The cost to the ratepayers for the year ended March 31 last was £864 12s. 4d. The free quota of police allotted to the county by the police regulations number 232. Vacancies in the free quota and the extra force in every county are always allowed and are provided for by statute. The full number allowed has been employed, save a small percentage for men training at the depot, which is usual and necessary, before a tax for extra police was imposed. The proportion of the Constabulary to the population of Ireland (exclusive of the city of Dublin) is about one in 400. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the quotation from the charge of the learned Judge; nor the accuracy of the figures given by him. But it is rash to draw conclusions hastily from statistics of this kind, which lend themselves with equal or even greater readiness to inferences of precisely the opposite kind to those made by the hon. Member. At the period referred to in the fifth paragraph the ratepayers were paying for 50 extra police, since reduced to 34. The question of the extra force in each county is periodically closely gone into, and wherever practicable the number is reduced. No further reduction can at present be made.