HC Deb 14 March 1889 vol 333 cc1626-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in reference to a portion of his answer of 7th December last, to the effect that the employment and payment of female officers for finale prisoners at the London Police Courts had been already sanctioned, and that steps wore being taken to appoint competent attendants; at how many of the 16 London Police Courts have such attendants been appointed; whether there were in each of these cases not merely a searcher but a female attendant, or police matron, in charge throughout the day and night of all female prisoners; if not, will Recommendation No. 10 of the Committee which was presided over by Mr. Justice Wills, and which reported in April, 1888, to the effect that "besides the male officer in charge of the prisoners, there should be a female officer in charge, under him of the female prisoners," be effectually carried out without further delay; also, whether he will call for Reports from the Metropolitan and City Police Courts and the other Petty Sessional Courts showing in detail how far each recommendation of Sir Alfred Will's Committee has been adopted and carried into effect; and, whether he will lay a Return, tabulating the contents of such Reports, upon the Table of the House?


In answer to the question of the right hon. Baronet I have to say that at the following six out of the 14 Metropolitan Police Courts—namely, Bow Street, Worship Street, Clerken- well, Westminster, Marylebone, and the Thames—female attendants have been appointed. Appointments will be very shortly completed at Southwark, Hammersmith, Wandsworth, Greenwich, Woolwich, Dalston, and Lambeth. With regard to Marlborough Street the Secretary of State is still in communication with the learned chief magistrate with a view to overcome certain structural difficulties in the way of accommodation which have hitherto existed at that Court. I may remind the right hon. Baronet that the services of these female attendants are only required during the day, as no prisoners are detained in the Court cells after the rising of the Court at 5 in the afternoon. Prisoners who are remanded from the Police Courts are taken to prison for the night. With regard to the second question I may say that no useful purpose at this moment would be gained by the production of such a Return as is there described. Correspondence with the authorities of local courts outside the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State is still proceeding. In several cases the requirements of the Committee, which were communicated by Home Office circular, have been satisfactorily carried out and have been approved. In others correspondence aimed at securing improved accommodation is still pending, which the Secretary of State has every reason to hope will in like measure be successful.