HC Deb 04 August 1890 vol 347 cc1782-830

As amended, further considered.

(5.58.) SIR G.CAMPBELL) (Kirkcaldy, &c.

I propose to begin by saying one word as to something which affects this and other Amendments. I will not detain the House longer than is necessary. I have always looked upon the threats of the First Lord of the Treasury in this way. These threats apply equally to the other side who must suffer.


That has nothing to do with the Amendment before the House. The hon. Gentleman will be good enough to address himself to the particular question.


I will be as brief as possible with regard to this particular Amendment. It seems to me reasonable that the Local Authority should have discretion to lower the pension by reason of demerits on the part of the officer in his service to the public as is the practice under the Civil Service Superannuation Act. But here you are going to give policemen a freehold such as is enjoyed by no other body of public servants except the clergy of the Established Church, and I hope they will not enjoy it long. I know the answer of the Government will be that there is no necessity for discretion. We insist that they shall not be deprived of these privileges. This is a reasonable Amendment which the Government may well accept. It touches the broad principle of the Bill that there shall be no discretion whatever in the Local Authorities in this matter, and it will make clear the position of the Government on that point. I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 5, at the end of Clause 1, to insert the words— Provided also, that the police authority may grant to any constable a pension of less amount than he would have been entitled to receive if his defaults or demerits in relation to the public service appear to them to justify such diminution."—(Sir Gerrge Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


The hon. Member has anticipated the line of argument to be taken by the Government on his Amendment. It is totally inconsistent with the principle of the Bill. It is not the case that the Local Authority has no discretion. The hon. Member forgets that the pension is only to be given for so many years approved service. If there has been misconduct on the part of any constable it is open to the Police Authority to deduct the period during which the service has not been "approved." If a man after all deductions are made still has fifteen years approved service to his credit it would be monstrous to give the Police Authority further power of depriving him of his pension.

(6.5.) MR. STOREY (Sunderland)

I do not think that that is quite the point at the present moment. The Local Authorities have got complete freedom to grant pensions, larger or smaller, according to the conduct and character of the man. All we ask is that under this Bill they shall not have less power. We do not contest in this Amendment the principle that a man shall have a pension: we have contested that already, and so far have been defeated; but, given the right that the man shall have a pension, there remains this consideration: Shall the authority which employs and pays him have the right, at the end of 15 or 25 years, to consider whether he has been a useful and efficient servant, or whether he has been a sloucher and a loafer, and calculate his pension accordingly? If this power be not granted to the Local Authority we shall lose one of the most valuable powers we now possess for securing an efficient and active Police Force. Take the case of a municipality with a Police Force of 600 men. Every man at present knows that if he proves himself by extra activity and good sense and acuteness a really valuable public servant the fact will be considered in fixing his pension; on the other hand, if he be one of those easy-going persons, who slouches through his work, never effects a capture, and never distinguishes himself by discovering the commission of offences, he does not come off so well. But if this Bill is passed as it now stands both these men will be placed on the same footing. Is it fair? I want to give the municipality power to distinguish between the two. I would suggest that the Local Authority should have the power of awarding a greater or lesser pension, according to its judgment of the service the constable has done.


Order, order! The hon. Member is not speaking on the Amendment. He is referring to one which stands in his own name.


The principle of the two Amendments is the same. I have no disposition to discuss the matter twice, and I thought I might as well deal with the point on this Amendment. My hon. Friend proposes that the Authority shall be able to grant to a constable a pension of less amount than under the Bill as it stands he will be entitled to receive. He puts no limit to the amount, whereas I would suggest there should be two pension scales; and it should be in the option of the Local Authority to place the man on the higher, or on the lower, scale, according to the services he has rendered. The Authorities practically possess that power at present, and it works advantageously. But the right hon. Gentleman proposes absolutely to take it away from them, and I want to know why he does so. Surely we, who pay the money, ought to have some voice as to the amount of the pension to be granted. I submit that the Amendment is a valuable one, and I hope that my hon. Friend will press it.

(6.13.) MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

If the meaning attached by the Home Secretary to the word "approved" is accurate, then the Amendment of my hon. Friend is not necessary. The point is a very important one. In the case of the Civil Service it is competent for the Treasury to reduce a man's pension if he has misconducted himself.

*(6.14.) MR. CHILDERS) (Edinburgh, S.

I appeal to my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment. The words are not necessary, and I am sure that if Clause 4 requires strengthening in order to make this point clear the Home Secretary would assent to the alteration. I agree with my hon. Friend it is absolutely necessary the Local Authority should have this power.

(6.15.) MR. STOREY

If we were quite sure as to the meaning of the term "approved service," and it covered what I want, I would not press the Amendment. But if my right hon. Friend examines Clause 4 he will hardly hold to the view he has expressed.

(6.16.) MR. MATTHEWS

I cannot undertake to alter Clause 4 so as to meet the views of the hon. Member for Sunderland. That Clause enables the Local Authority to make deductions from the actual service of a man for misconduct or negligence. But it does not give the Local Authority the option of giving either a large or a small pension—a power which they have greatly abused in the past.

*(6.17.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)

I think the words "approved service" do cover the point raised by the hon. Member for Sunderland. Approved service is diligent and faithful service. Surely it is only I fair the constable shall have notice from time to time if his service is not diligent, and will not be allowed to count for pension. It would be hardly right at the end of a man's service to tell him suddenly he has not earned a pension. I think the power given in the Bill will keep the chief constables up to the mark in maintaining the efficiency of the force.

Question put, and negatived.

(6.18.) MR. STOREY

I now beg to move in Clause 3, page 2, line 31, to add at the end, "Provided that the Police Authority may, in the pension scale contemplated by this Bill for ordinary pensions and within the limits of such scale, provide for a greater or lesser pension according to its judgment of the services and the conduct of each constable."


Will the hon. Gentleman explain how that differs from the preceding Amendment?


Yes, Sir. In this particular, that it provides the Local Authority may make two pension scales, and within the limits of these scales grant a higher or a lower pension according to their judgment of the services rendered. I must take leave to repel with indignation the statement of the Home Secretary that the Municipalities have in the past in any way abused the power of pensioning the police. Can he name any one Municipality the police of which as a body have complained of such abuse, or that they have been unfairly treated owing to the power possessed by the Local Authority of differentiating between one man and another? I have had a good deal more experience than the right hon. Gentleman of the action of Local Authorities, and I venture to tell him that there has been no such complaint. We ask for a continuation of this right to differentiate between a man who has done valuable service and one who has done poor service.


Order, order! This is precisely the same question; there is no difference whatever. The hon. Member is arguing the same question again.


Of course, Sir, if you—


Order, order! It is precisely the same question.


Then I will simply move my Amendment, and take the sense of the House on it.


I cannot put it.

(6.21.) MR. ATHERLEY - JONES (Durham, N.W.)

I beg to move the Amendment in my name. It is more a matter of form than of principle.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 36, to leave out the words "and send a copy to the Secretary of Stats."— (Mr. Atherley-Jones.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

(6.22.) MR. MATTHEWS

The Local Authority is required to draw up a scale within a certain date, and if they fail to do so there is an alternative power in the Secretary of State to make a scale. How is the Secretary of State to know whether the Local Authority have framed a scale or not unless they send a copy of it to him?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I hope the Home Secretary will be able to accept the other Amendment in my name.

Amendment proposed, in page 3, line 5, to leave out from the word "force" to the word "operation," inclusive, in line 7.—(Mr. Atherley-Jones.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

*(6.24.) MR. MATTHEWS

I think the hon. Member must see it is impossible to omit these words. It is provided that if the Police Authority are not satisfied with the scale they shall have power to revise it from time to time but clearly it would be unfair to make the revised scale applicable to men in the Force when the original scale was framed. It must only apply to men entering the Force after the revision.


I will not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move in Clause 4, page 3, line 13, after the word "misconduct" to insert "inefficiency." The object of the Amendment is to enable a deduction from a constable's pension to be made on account of inefficiency as well as sickness or misconduct. At present deductions can only be made for some specific offence; we desire the same power for general inefficiency. Surely the Home Secretary will not object to that.

Amendment proposed, in page 3, line' 13, after the word "misconduct," to insert the word "inefficiency,"—(Sir George Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'inefficiency' be there inserted."

*(6.26.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster

The Government have no objection to the introduction of the word, except that they hold it to be the duty of the Police Authority to discharge a man for inefficiency. We ought to be able to rely on the efficiency of the police of the country.

SIR G. TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

Would not that be covered: by the words in Clause 10,"any other reasonable cause"?


I think Clause 10 will require alteration.

(6.27.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I think the clause goes too far already. It is very unfair that a man's pension should be lessened on account of sickness. A great many constables contract sickness in the discharge of their duty. I think the words "misconduct" and "neglect of duty" are quite sufficient. If you introduce the word "inefficiency," a sergeant or inspector, without finding any particular fault with his subordinate, could affect his pension prospects by simply saying he is a stupid and inefficient man. You make the constable pay the bulk of the fund from which the pension is taken, and of course the pension is taken into account when fixing his wages. If you introduce this word you will be depriving him by unfair means of money he has really earned.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*(6.32.) MR. MATTHEWS

The next Amendment is merely a question of drafting. At the instance of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Lawrence), certain words were inserted in Clause 14. The draftsman has, pointed out that they are in the wrong; place. The hon. Member will accept it from me that the alterations I propose carry out the understanding come to in the Committee.

Amendment proposed, Clause 4, page 3, line 37, leave out "Great Britain" and Insert "any part of the United Kingdom."(Mr. Matthews.)

Question proposed, "That 'Great Britain' stand part of the Question."

(6.33.) MR. JOHNSTON) (Belfast, S.

I have to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the introduction of this clause.

*(6.34.) MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

I am quite willing to accept the Amendment. There seems to be a little feeling abroad as to the effect of this Act upon Irish constables who come over here to serve. I have put an Amendment on the Paper providing that such constables should receive pensions from the Irish Government, which I regret the Government does not see its way to accept, but, as I have said, I am ready to agree to the right hon. Gentleman's proposal.

(6.35.) MR. HUNTER) (Aberdeen, N.

I do not know whether it is proposed to adopt a similar Amendment on the Scotch Bill. I should be obliged to oppose such an Amendment. The scale of pensions in Ireland is very much higher than the scale sanctioned by the Committee upstairs. At the same time, I am quite certain that the last thing a Scotchman would be willing to do would be to introduce as a policeman in Scotland any person who had been brought up under the malign influence of the Castle in Dublin.

Question, put, and negatived.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Clause 6


This clause is erroneously described in the margin as one to give power to reduce pensions where the infirmity of a constable is partially due to misconduct. The provision is to enable pensions to be reduced where the infirmity is wholly due to misconduct. Such cases do arise. As the clause now stands, the Police Authorities will have no power to give a man less than four-fifths of his pension. I think the ratepayers will think it hard if they have to give a four-fifths pension to a man whose retirement is entirely due to his own misconduct. I propose to give the Police Authority power to act as they think fit. I think they should have power to prevent a man having any pension at all. They will then have power to say, "We know perfectly well you are injuring your constitution by your habits, and unless you improve we shall not give you a pension." There is a provision for a certificate by a medical man and therefore it cannot be hard on the man. It must be remembered that when a man is bringing on himself infirmity of body by his own misconduct he is injuring others besides himself. I do not think such misconduct ought to be treated lightly in the case of a policeman, who ought at all events to set a decently fair example in the locality in which he is placed. I therefore propose the Amendment of which I have given notice.

Amendment proposed, in page 5, line 29, after the word "reduce," to insert the words "or forfeit."— (Captain Verney.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

*(6.39.) MR. MATTHEWS

This is one of the matters we discussed very fully in the Committee, and I regret that it should have to be discussed again. No doubt it is a point which is open to consideration on both sides. This is necessarily a difficult matter to determine. Prima facie if the constable's habits had been such as to impair his constitution the Police Authorities ought to have found it out long before the pension was due and ought to have dismissed him. There may be a case in which where a constable who never drinks to excess, still goes on drinking from day to day. The former Bill on the subject only allowed the Police Authority to reduce his pension by one-tenth. I propose that it shall be reduced by one fifth. Now comes the purist in the shape of the hon. and gallant-Member opposite, who wants to give the Police Authority power to refuse a pension altogether. It is really a matter for the House to decide. If, however, you give power to the Police Authority to refuse a pension altogether, you should give an appeal, which at present is not. given.

*(6.41.) MR. CHILDERS

For my part I should very much regret to have a system of appeals, except as to questions of law. If you start the system of appeals you will have appeals from the whole of the police. I would prefer to see Clause 10 made very stringent. Men falling into these practices ought to be dismissed. If the power to dismiss is made perfectly clear I should invite my hon. Friend not to persist in his Amendment.


I intend to make it perfectly clear that the power to dismiss will be absolutely at the discretion of the Police Authority.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move to leave out after "pension" to the end of the clause. I wish to take away the words which limit the reduction to one-fifth. In the Standing Committee the argument was all on one side. Member after Member appealed to the Home Secretary to accept this Amendment, and I did not think the right hon. Gentleman would divide upon it. The right hon. Gentleman, however, held out, without saying much in the way of argument, and, to the surprise of the Committee,he had a considerable majority when it came to the vote.

Amendment proposed, in page 5, line 29, to leave out all the words after the word "pension," to the end of the clause. —(Sir George Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of Bill."

*(6.46.) SIR W. BARTTELOT) (Sussex, N.W.

I certainly agree very much with what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I think it would be infinitely better to leave the discretion to those who have to deal with the cases. In my opinion, the Home Secretary would never regret having placed this power in the hands of the Police Authority. Under the clause, as it stands, all cases of irregularity, whether grave or trivial, will have to be dealt with alike.

(6.47.) MR. MATTHEWS

I do not know whether it would shorten the discussion if I put in "one-half" instead of "one-fifth."


I accept that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I now beg to move to omit "one-fifth" and substitute "one-half."

Amendment proposed, Clause 6, page 5, line 30, to omit "one-fifth" and insert "one-half."

Question, "That 'one-fifth' stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That 'one-half be there inserted."

*(6.49.) MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I cannot agree with the hon. Baronet behind me (Sir W. Bartfelot). A man should be dismissed for an offence of a sufficiently grave character, but I do not think his punishment should be held over until he has completed his 25 years' service. I earnestly hope the right hon. Gentleman will adhere to the Bill as it stands, and will not consent to its alteration.


The clause applies to a very limited class of men only. If this were not so the remarks of the hon. Gentleman would no doubt have great force.

(6.50.) DR. CLARK

After a man has served for, say, fifteen years, it would be very hard to refuse to pay him any pension. If he has served three-fifths of his time he ought to have three-fifths of his pension.


My hon. Friend does not seem to appreciate that the clause will only apply to men who have misconducted themselves. I think the concession made by the Government is well grounded on public expediency.


I know a case of a Chief Constable, who, in the opinion of all who are acquainted with him, is bringing on ill-health by his vicious habits. I think if a constable who behaves in this way gets even half of his pension he is exceedingly well treated.


I would point out that medical evidence has to be obtained of the fact that the constable has contributed to the infirmity by his own default or his vicious habits. Now, according to experience the larger amount that is deducted, the least likely is the doctor to give a certificate to that effect. I would suggest that three-fifths should be given at any rate.

(6.53.) Question put.

House cleared for a Division.

(6.56.) Question again put, and agreed to.


Would I be in order in moving three-fifths?


That would not be in order, because we have passed the word "one."

*(6.58.) MR. PICKERSGILL) (Bethnal Green, S.W.

I propose to omit Clause 8 altogether. It provides that certain conduct on the part of a pensioner shall result in the forfeiture of his pension at the discretion of the Police Authority. I do not suppose the clause would have a very wide operation, because I cannot think that a man who had spent 25 years in an honourable occupation would be likely to commit any of the acts mentioned in the clause. The acts divide themselves into two classes. The first class consists of crimes, and the second of acts which are not crimes, but which one may call contra bonos mores. As to the first class the Court which convicts ought to punish once for all. To attach discretion for further punishment to the Police Authority would introduce a very disturbing element into the administration of justice in Criminal Courts. Further, it seems to me that by this clause we are reverting, capriciously and, therefore, the more mischievously, to the old practice of the criminal law under which a conviction for felony involved a forfeiture of the convicted man's property. The second class of offences are of an extremely vague character, and will give a power to the Police Authority which may be used in a tyrannical manner. One of the acts is knowingly associating with thieves, or reputed thieves; another is refusing to give information or assistance to the police; and another is being "guilty of any conduct which is, in the opinion of the police authority, disgraceful." I proposed this Amendment in the Standing Committee, and I quite admit I did not receive much support there. The only substantial argument, however—if I can call it substantial—advanced against me was that these forfeitures had been introduced into previous Bills dealing with the same subject. But by this Bill we are introducing a new principle which I think meets that argument altogether. In previous Bills it was provided that pensions should be given at the discretion of the Local Authority, and I quite admit that where the Local Authority has a discretion to grant pensions, it is not unreasonable to allow it a discretion to withdraw them. By this Bill we are giving an absolute right to a constable to have a pension, and it seems to me futile and nugatory, after providing that the constable shall have a right to a pension, to say the Local Authority shall be at liberty to withdraw it.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 5, to leave out Clause 8.—(Mr. Pickersgill.)

Question proposed, That the words 'A pension or allowance under this Act is granted only upon condition that it becomes forfeited, and may be withdrawn by the Police Authority, in any of the following cases' stand part of the Bill.

(7.4.) MR. E.ROBERTSON (Dundee)

My hon. Friend (Mr. Pickersgill) and some of his supporters the other day commented with some severity upon the length of time occupied on Saturday on a much more important question, involving the whole kernel of the Bill, by some of us who did not address the House as long as he has just done. I wish to support the Amendment. In Committee on the Scotch Bill the same point arose. Although I do not like either of these Police Bills, I wish to treat the police fairly, and I do not wish to impose on them conditions which in themselves appear to be degrading and insulting. If they are to have pensions, let them have them on terms which imply that they are decent and respectable citizens. The proposal as it stands amounts to nothing more or less than that the police pensioners are to be subject to police supervision.


This question was also thoroughly thrashed out in Committee. The clause has been in every Bill on the subject. Moreover, the conditions imposed have been in the regulations of the Police Force since the beginning, and it has never been alleged that they work any hardship to the men. Lastly, it would surely be a shock to the public conscience that a man committing an offence involving moral turpitude should be allowed to draw a large pension from the public funds.


I am generally of the same opinion as the right hon. Gen-man, but I think the word "disgraceful" is too vague, and would suggest that it would be better to adopt the words of the Scotch Bill, giving power to the Police Authority to withdraw pension from any grantee who enters into or continues to carry on any business, occupation, or employment which, in the opinion of the police authority, is illegal.

(7.9.) MR. J. ROWLANDS) (Finsbury, E.

I do not think that because a bad clause has been inserted in a number of other Bills we should therefore put a bad clause in this. Sub-section I) would, I believe, give power to anyone who had a grudge against a constable to make it doubtful whether the constable would ever obtain a pension or not. The word "disgraceful" is so vague that I think the draftsman himself would like to reconsider it. I think there is also a great deal of force in the argument put forward by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bethnal Green, that a man when he is punished for a crime should be punished out and out, and should not have a lot of, these forfeitures hanging over his head.

*(7.11.) SIR A. ROLLIT) (Islington, S.

I trust the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary will, in justice to the Police Force, see his way to effect such a qualification in the clause as that indicated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh.


We must be careful what we do in this matter. If we look at Sub-section A, we shall see that we are going to a dangerous length. If an ex-policeman is committed to prison for three months with hard labour, or for 12 months with or without hard labour, he is to lose his pension. If, therefore, he should be tried for the offence of pocket-picking, and should only be sent to gaol for two months with hard labour, it will have no effect on his pension. Can it then be said that you must go lower down and forfeit the pension for "disgraceful conduct?" No doubt these words are wide and will bring a great many things into the net; but on the other hand, I think if it is advisable to omit the words in question from Sub-section D, these words in Sub-section A should be amended. There may be many offences for which an ex-police constable may be convicted, and where the sentence is not so heavy as three months hard labour or 12 months imprisonment of any kind.

*(7.13.) MR. W. H. SMITH

I may say that the Government will be willing to adopt the wording of the Scotch Bill on this point, so that the two Bills may run together. By this arrangement it will be competent to withhold a pension by reason of a man carrying on a business occupation or employment which is illegal, or of disclosing information which he has become possessed of through his connection with a Police Force.


What is an illegal occupation? Is there such a thing?

*(7.14.) MR. HUNTER

My opposition is directed against the whole of the Clause. There are two points of view from which all these matters may be examined, and the first is the financial point of view. The first question is what is the Clause going to be worth to the ratepayer or the pension fund? Well, the answer to that is that this is a provision which, from a pecuniary point of view, is of no value to the fund whatever, as the cases in which ex-policemen will be guilty of these serious offences will be extremely rare. From a policeman's point of view I quite understand why the policemen do not strenuously attack the Clause. If they did it might be said, "Oh, they want to be at liberty to commit these offences and still retain their pensions." Every policeman would see the Clause did not affect him; but I object to it on the score of principle. We give an absolute right to a pension, and, under the circumstances, I contend that the pension is as much the property of the policeman as if he had inherited the money from his great-grandfather. There are two modes by which we pay policemen under the Bill, one by a system of gratuities, and the other by a system of pensions. It cannot be contended that, having given a gratuity, you could revoke it; and what difference, I ask, does it make if, instead of paying a sum down, you reward him by an annual pension? None at all; and I therefore protest against the singling out of this one class of property for forfeiture. If the principle of requiring the forfeiture of property every time a disgraceful act is done is insisted upon in the case of every body, I could understand its application to a policeman. The English law used to recognise the principle in cases of felony, but its absurdity has been recognised and its total irrelevancy to punishment for crime has caused it to be abolished. This clause is one which shakes the security of pensions. It would operate with the greatest hardship and injustice in certain cases, such as where an innocent man is convicted, and cases of that kind are by no means unknown. I shall vote against the Clause.


I hope the House will not consent to this Clause being left out. It is a great advantage to the pensioners themselves that it is known that their pensions will be forfeited for certain things, as it enables them better to obtain the light employment of which they are capable.


I hope the Committee will adhere to this Clause, as the same rule obtains in the Army and Navy. It is to the advantage of the pensioners, as it enables them to get other employment. I am glad to hear what has been said in the course of the discussion as to the vagueness of disgraceful conduct, for the reason that during my election contest in North Bucks, my opponent expressed a hope that the Constituency would not disgrace itself by returning me.

(7.22.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I do not know how far the words "refusing to give assistance in case of any disturbance of the public peace" will extend. There may be many eases where the offence may not be of such a grave character that it ought to involve the forfeiture of a pension. The matter is to rest with the discretion of the Police, and we know they sometimes take a very wide view of what is a disturbance of the public peace. If it were for a Judge to decide I should be content. That is not the case, however, and I think these words should be altered. Many so-called disturbances take place at elections, and an ex-policeman might not wish to identify himself with either side.

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move to insert the word "indictable" before "offence." This word was inserted at first in the Bill, but was struck out in the belief that it was not necessary. I think it would be better and fairer if it were put in. A man may be indicted for picking pockets, and may not get as much as three months imprisonment with hard labour, but still may be unfit to receive a pension. If it is known that a man can easily lose his pension it will make him careful; besides which, it will make it easier for him to obtain employment.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 8, after the word "any," to insert the word "indictable."—(Captain Verney.)—

Question proposed, "That the word 'indictable' be there inserted."

(7.26.) MR. MATTHEWS

I cannot accept the Amendment. The object of this Sub-section A is to try by general words to include those Acts which involve moral turpitude. If you put in these words you might include offences, which would not come within that category. In the case of pocket picking I do not think it likely that so light a punishment as two months hard labour would be inflicted for such an offence; for remember, the offender is an ex-policeman.


I accept the view of the Home Secretary that only offences which imply moral turpitude should be included, but if we accepted the Amendment we could graduate the punishment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

(7.28.) DR. CLARK

I move to leave out Sub-section C, which provides that a man shall lose his pension if he refuses to assist the police in the detection of crime, the apprehension of criminals, or for the suppression of any disturbance of the public peace. The words "any disturbance of the public peace" will include occurrences such as Salvation Army processions or matters of that kind, for which the hon. Member for Lanarkshire was sent to prison. This, certainly, ought not to depend upon the vote of one man: there ought at least to be a majority of two-thirds or three-fourths.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 15, to leave out Sub-section C of Clause 8.—{Dr. Clark.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section C. of Clause 8 stand part of the Bill."

(7.31.) MR. STOREY

I support my hon. Friend in this Amendment, but not quite for the reason he has given. I admit that as to Sub-sections A and B, iit is perfectly right that the pensions should be subject to withdrawal if the Local Authority thinks fit, but I submit that whatever a man does under Subsection C, is not sufficient reason for withdrawing the pension he has earned. If he refuses to give to the Police the information in his power for the detection of crime, and apprehension of criminals, and the suppression of any disturbance to the public peace, he is to lose his pension. Suppose he does that, why should he be subject to a special punishment over and above any other man who commits the same offence? If he can be punished for what must be in most cases a very venial offence, why should you subject him to the possibility of losing his pension? If a man has served 25 years honestly, and you have decreed that he shall have a pension, surely if ten years later he does something the Police Authority object to, you should not provide that he should lose his pension.

(7.34.) MR. MATTHEWS

We must bear in mind that the pension is granted to a man who has been allowed to leave the Police Force on the ground that he either had a medical certificate that he was incapacitated for doing his duty, or had served for 25 years. Surely under such circumstances, it is only right that he should not forget that he is a pensioned policeman, and therefore is bound to give all the assistance he can in the detection of crime and so forth. If a man refuses to give such assistance, it is by no means unfair or unreasonable there should be some penalty.


I shall certainly support the proposal to omit this subsection. The law gives ample power to the Government to cause every citizen to assist the police: why should a policeman be subject to any additional penalty, the additional penalty of losing his pension. I think the right hon. Gentleman might see his way to withdraw this section.

(7.37.) The House divided:—Ayes 132; Noes 39.—(Div. List, No. 225.)

(7.45.) Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 19, to leave out Sub-section (d.) of Clause 8, in order to insert the words— (d) If the grantee enters into or continues to carry on any business, occupation, or employment which is illegal, or in which he has made use of the fact of his former employment in the police in a manner which the Police Authority consider to be discreditable and improper."—(Mr. Secretary Matthews.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

(7.46.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

I rise for the purpose of supporting this Amendment. [Cries of "Agreed."] There is one remark I want to make, and I think I am within my right in making it. This Amendment entirely vindicates my suggestion on Saturday that the English and Scotch Bills should have been referred to the same Committee, In this debate constant references to the Scotch Bill are made under the most inconvenient circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Childers) below me has been sitting with both Bills in his hands the whole evening, and has done the House the great service of continually referring to the provisions of the Scotch Bill. I think we have just ground for complaint against my right hon. Friend for having on Saturday prevented us by his influence taking a course whereby references to the Scotch Bills would have been made in a way convenient to the House.


My hon. Friend has been good enough to compliment me on my influence. But he has also said, in opposition to my view, the two Bills should have been referred to the same Committee. My sole objection to that course was and is that if it had been adopted the chances are the two Bills would have been so delayed as not to pass this Session.


I have no objection to the sub-section being omitted, but I think we ought to know what is meant by "carrying on any illegal occupation." By adopting this Amendment we should change the clause completely. Perhaps our meeting in the House of Commons might be regarded as an illegal occupation, and right hon. Gentlemen engaged in it, and who have large State pensions, might lose their pensions.


The words "illegal occupation" apply to some breach of the criminal law.

Question put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

(7.52.) MR. STOREY

I would have no objection to the words down to the word "illegal," but I cannot see the justice of the words "in a manner the Police Authority may consider to be discreditable and improper." I am very distrustful of what the Police Authority may consider to be discreditable and improper. I do not allude to Police Authorities in boroughs, but I am not so sure about Police Authorities in counties, because the counties are not controlled as to the police by representative bodies. But my greatest objection would be to trusting to the Police Authority in the Metropolis, which is the Secretary of State for the Home Department for the time being. I would not trust the right hon. Gentleman, for instance, to carry out this clause. In country districts there are many employments and occupations which an ex-policeman might engage in, and which the magistrates might choose to consider to be discreditable and improper. For instance, if an ex-policeman happened to be implicated in some game case, I can understand that in many rural districts the law might be strained with great severity against the man by the authority, which is in no sense representative. I shall take a division. I agree to the words down to "illegal," but beg to move to omit the words from that word to the word "improper."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to leave out all the words after the word "illegal," to the end of the proposed Amendment.—(Mr. Storey).

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment.


I think it necessary to press the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey). I do not see that this generalisation is better than the generalisation we had in the old clause. There is nothing to show how the power will be used. You are giving pensions, and I take it you are doing so because the men have earned them. I do not think you ought to give the Police Authority power to exercise just as they like. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to leave out all words after "illegal."


Reference has been made to the Scotch Committee from which this clause proceeds. Let me say the Scotch Committee, although unanimous in substituting these words, were by no means unanimous in accepting the words which are now objected to.

(8.0) The House divided:—Ayes-100; Noes 50.—(Div. List, No. 226.)

Words inserted.

Other Amendments made. (8.15.)

(8.40.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


The object of the next Amendment which stands in my name is to maintain the present right of a Police Authority to dismiss their own servants at their own-discretion. This was discussed in the Committee on the Scotch Police Bill and only defeated by the casting vote of the Chairman. I believe the Government will admit that the clause requires amendment, and I hope they will assent to my first motion, which is to strike out all the operative part of the clause.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 10, page 8, line 3, to leave out all the words after the word "shall."—(Sir G. Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

(8.46.) MR. MATTHEWS

I agree that Clause 10 requires amendment, and that the Police Authorities ought to have an absolute right to dismiss any constable, who, it must be clearly understood, will, in the future, have no vested interest in his position. In the event of a constable who has earned a pension being guilty of gross misconduct, he should be liable to be dismissed without a pension, but in that case he ought to have a right of appeal, and that appeal I propose to give him, to the Court of Quarter Sessions. I propose to insert in the clause the following words (and here I may say I do not object to the hon. Member's words, they are probably quite as good as my own):— Nothing in this Act shall prevent any constable being dismissed or reduced to any lower rank or lower rate of pay or from having his claim to pension refused on account of misconduct or of negligence in the discharge of his duty, or on account of any of the grounds on which his pension, if granted, would be liable to be forfeited or withdrawn. If the House prefers the hon. Member's words, I am quite prepared to give way. I wish to preserve unimpaired the absolute power of the Police Authorities to dismiss or to reduce any constable without cause shown, but to secure for any dismissed constable who has earned a pension a right of appeal, and in that case good cause for his dismissal must be shown. I look at it in this view. The right of dismissal and of getting rid of a constable must remain absolute, but where a man has already earned his pension he is to have a right of appeal against dismissal.

(8.52.) MR. HUNTER

I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has taken this view. When the Committee discussed this point I felt that the language of the clause was somewhat incautious, and that it gave a vested interest in his office to every constable, I thought that that could not be the intention of the Government, and accordingly I moved an Amendment, similar to that now proposed by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy. It seems to me that so far as the mere wording is concerned, that should be left to the responsibility of the Government. I think my hon. Friend will do well to accept the Amendment of the Home Secretary.

*(8.50.) MR. CHILDERS

I, also, was glad to hear the announcement made by the Government, who did not in the Scotch Committee hold the same language. It seems only reasonable that when a constable has not earned a pension, the right: of the dismissed should not be subject to appeal, as it should be when the pension has been earned and is refused. The question becomes then one of law.

(8 54.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

I wish to know whether the Government will assent to a similar Amendment being introduced into the Scotch Police Bill, the words of which are most ambiguous. I beg to tender my warm congratulations to the Home Secretary on the manner in which he has met this serious difficulty. It will complete our satisfaction if the right hon. Gentleman will give us an assurance that corresponding modifications will be made in the Scotch Bill.


The words of the right hon. Gentleman thoroughly express what we wish to secure, and I am quite willing to leave the responsibility of framing the words to the Government.


I know that the clause gave considerable alarm to Local Authorities in the North, and the proposed alteration will allay that uneasiness.


Will the alteration give the Local Authorities an absolute right of dismissal? And if so, will similar words be inserted in the Scotch Bill? Those are the points on which we wish to be satisfied.


I will accept the words suggested by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy if he will allow me to add the words I have proposed relative to the withdrawal of pensions.

Question put, and negatived.


I now propose to add the following words:— Or shall prevent his claim to pension from being refused on account of misconduct or negligence in the discharge of his duties, or on account of any of the grounds on which his pension, if granted, would be liable to be forfeited and withdrawn.


Would the Lord Advocate apply this proposal to Scotland?


I think this is a matter on which I should be prepared to insert such an Amendment in the Scotch Bill.

Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.

(9.2.) MR. STOREY

I now beg to propose the Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Atherley-Jones). To leave out from 'apply,' in line 20, to 'court.' in line 23, and insert:—' In the case of a borough to the council thereof, and in the case of a county to the joint police committee of the justices and the county council of the county in which the constable was last serving, and the council or the joint committee, as the case may be, may make such order as to the council or the joint committee may seem just.' I should myself have preferred to move the rejection of the clause, but I do not think I can go further under the circumstances than my hon. Friend proposes, and therefore, without pinning myself to its exact terms, I will move his Amendment as he has placed it on the Paper. The House knows that this is a clause giving an appeal in certain cases. It is not a case of contract. The Municipality does not agree to give the pension. It is the State which has stepped in, and having; offered a sum totally inadequate to pay the pensions it proposes to compel municipality by law to make up the difference. As the ratepayers are to be the paymasters they may fairly ask that in a question between themselves and their employes the matter should be left for settlement by themselves. We have heard much about decentralisation and the necessity for allowing in the public interest the claim made for a free Local Government, but we are now brought face to face with the fact that after the Local Authorities have decided that a thing shall not be, there shall, nevertheless, be the thing. My experience is not that the Local Authorities treat their servants harshly. If any complaint can be made against the Local Authorities it is not that they are illiberal. This must obviously be the case, because those who elect the Muni-ciple Authorities are, as a rule, small shopkeepers and workpeople who, having themselves felt at some time or other the pinch of poverty, are inclined to be generous where these allowances have to be made. But here comes the Home Secretary with a proposal that there shall be an appeal, and my hon. Friend's Amendment goes to the point as to what that Court of Appeal is to be. The Bill provides that it is to be the next Quarter Sessions having jurisdiction in the place where the constable last served. My hon. Friend's Amendment proposes to omit the words from "apply" to "Court," and to insert the words I have already read. I beg to urge on the Home Secretary, that in the case of boroughs which have no Quarter Sessions, this proposal raises one of the most burning questions that could be introduced. The want of these Courts of Quarter Sessions has caused a large amount of friction and personal antagonism as between the County and Borough Justices. The right hon. Gentleman's proposal reopens an old sore which we had hoped to have closed for ever, and my hon. Friend, in order to meet the objections to this proposal, suggests that the reference should be, not to the Court of Quarter Sessions, but in the case of a Borough to the Council, and in the case of a County to the Joint Police Committee of the Justices and the County Council. What can country gentlemen living miles away from these small Boroughs know of their needs and peculiarities? It may be said that the Watch Committee is practically the Town Council. It used to be the case that the Watch Committee was a mere Committee of the Town Council, but some years ago the Watch Committee was erected into a statuable body. That is, a body which would in the first place decide as to these pensions, and it is now proposed that there should be an appeal from the Watch Committee to the whole Council, who, certainly, have the best right to decide these matters. I think Town Councils may be trusted to settle such questions on principles of equity and fair play. Consequently, I regard the proposed appeal to the Town Council as a reasonable course that would obviate much friction. With regard to the counties, I would remind the House that in the Pilotage Bill which came before it we had an appeal given to the County Court Judge or the Stipendiary Magistrate. I should not object to such an appeal being given in Boroughs without Quarter Sessions jurisdiction, because the County Court Judge is constantly available in the Boroughs, and holds an absolutely independent position. We could, therefore, have confidence in him; and I may say the same of the Stipendiary Magistrate. At any rate, we strongly resent any measure subjecting the Town Councils to the review of Courts of Quarter Sessions, which otherwise possessed no authority in the Boroughs, and are without the respect and confidence accorded to the representative bodies.

Amendment proposed, in page 8, line 20, to leave out from the word "apply" to the word "just," in line 23, in order to insert the words— In the case of a borough to the council thereof, and in the case of a county to the joint police committee of the justices and the county council of the county in which the constable was last serving, and the council or the joint committee, as the case may be, may make such order as to the council or the joint committee may seem."—(Mr. Storey.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'to the next practicable Court of Quarter Sessions' stand part of the Bill."

(9.15.) MR. MATTHEWS

I would point out, that by the clause we have already passed a legal right to certain pensions is given to the Police under certain conditions: the House having admitted the legal right, it is proposed that the Court of Quarter Sessions, as a body conversant with Police matters, should be the Court before the consideration of the appeals, in cases where the Police Authority chooses to deny the constables the right which Parliament has conferred upon them. Now, what is the proposal of the hon. Member for Sunderland? I must confess that I have some difficulty in understanding it. Sometimes, as was the case when we wore dealing with Clause 8, the hon. Member was for cutting down the discretion of the Police Authority, but now, when the question is whether the Police Authority have the right in refusing a pension, he actually proposes that the Court of Appeal should be the Police Authority itself.




The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand the effect of his own proposal, and apparently has not read the Bill, The Watch Committee, which would have the grating or refusing of a pension, forms an important part of the Town Council itself, and that Town Council is to be the appeal against the Acts of its own Watch Committee; so that practically the hon. Gentleman gravely proposes that the very parsons who have approved the dismissal of a constable without a pension shall constitute the Court of Appeal to hear the complaint of the aggrieved constable. The proposal is similar to others with which the time of the House has been washed.

*(9.20.) SIR A. ROLLIT

I am glad to see the explicit resistance which has been offered to this Amendment by the right hon. Gentleman. No one can have a stronger sense of the political antipathies of the hon. Member for Sunderland than I have, but I would point out that this is a matter of contract only. The constable contracts with the Police Authorities for pay, plus pension, and if the question of affirming or refusing a pension is to be left to the Police Authority, it makes one of the parties to this contract the Judge in his own case. The constables are entitled to a judi- cial, not to an ex parte, decision. The proper authorities being the Quarter Sessions, I hope this proposal will not be pressed, as it seems to me to be destitute of all principle. I think there ought to be every guarantee of impartiality in the case of these appeals; and to entrust them to the Town Councils would be a fallacious procedure, because these bodies would be practically affirming their own decisions, inasmuch as the members of the Watch Committee form a large proportion of the Town Councils. Such bodies are certainly to be trusted to do what they believe to be right, but no one should be judge in his own cause in the result of which he has an interest.

*(9.25.) MR. CHILDERS

We are here dealing with a question of protection of the legal rights of police officers, and the only point for consideration is to whom should these persons, if they think they have been illegally treated, make their appeal? I. am sorry to disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, but I regard the act of the Town Watch Committee as the act of the Council. If on that ground alone, I could not accept my hon. Friend's proposal; but I have also in my mind the decision arrived at on this matter by the Committee on the Scotch Bill, and I think it would be well to follow more nearly the analogy there established than to accept the proposition of the Home Secretary. In Scotland the Sheriff, who is a legal officer of great experience, is the person who would decide these appeals. The best analogy we can find in England is the County Court Judge, who holds in some respects a similar position to that of the Scotch Sheriff. I think it. would be better to give the right of appeal, which is a valuable right to the Judge of the County Court, than to accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. I would, therefore, ask the Home Secretary, who knows that I have done my best to support this Bill, whether he will not allow the appeal in England to be made to the County Court Judge.


I am sorry to differ in toto from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh. I think the proposal of the Home Secretary is very much better than that of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh. I do not think it necessary that matters of this kind should be ex- clusively decided by a lawyer, because, while having regard to the law, we ought to have some consideration for equity and justice. It strikes me that the Court of Quarter Sessions would combine the judicial and equitable qualities, and that the nature of its experience spscially qualifies it for dealing with these questions. Therefore I hold it to be the best tribunal we can have.

* MR. J. C. STEVENSON (South Shields)

I must say that I heartily concur with the suggestion that the County Court Judge should be constituted the Court of Appeal. The case of the pilots is, I think, analogous to the present question. By an Act passed last Session, pilots who had paid into the pilotage funds, and who were entitled to a pension, were given an appeal to the County Court Judge in England, and to the Sheriff in Scotland, against any decision of the Pilotage Authority. I agree with what is now proposed, and will support the leaving out of these words in order to leave room for the insertion of the words "County Court Judge."

(9.31.) DR. CLARK

The right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, would save time if he would agree to the insertion of the words "the County Court Judge." If you only allow an appeal to Quarter Sessions you will have the Magistrates first sitting as a Police Committee, and then sitting to hear the appeals of the police against the decisions of the Committee. I know the Police Committees are not composed wholly of magistrates, but partly so. Still, I think the police have a right to have their cases heard by an altogether unbiased authority. We are passing an Act to give certain rights and privileges, and when those rights and privileges are denied to a man, either by a Watch Committee in a borough, or by a Joint Committee in a county, he ought to have an appeal to a judge whose decision ought to be final. I am sorry that you have not in this country a judge equivalent to our Sheriff, but the nearest approach to it is the County Court Judge, and I think that the appeal ought to be to him. I think the right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, should accept the Amendment, seeing that be himself has admitted that there is a good deal to be said for it.

(9.35.) MR. J. P. B.ROBERTSON

I am in favour of the appeal in Scotland lying with the Sheriff, as I think that is an admirable form of appeal; but I am afraid that the reasons that constitute that a specially appropriate Court of Appeal do not apply to the County Court Judge. In Scotland the Sheriff is a trained lawyer, and in the general case a good lawyer; but, at the same time, it is not merely on account of his being a trained Judge in an Appeal Court that he is an appropriate arbitrator on questions arising under this clause. The Sheriff in Scotland is not only a lawyer who holds Courts of Appeal, but he also is an administrative officer in the county, and is brought into daily contact and special relations with the police. The Sheriff in the county in Scotland is responsible for the peace of the county. He has the use of the polios for the suppression of disorder and the preservation of the police. He is a member of every Police Committee in the county, and there are various other points of contact between him and the police. As an administrative officer he brings, in corroboration of his qualifications, the judiciary powers of deciding, which he has gained by experience. I would warn the House against accepting the County Court Judge in England as an analogy for the Sheriff in Scotland.

(9.38.) COLONEL NOLAN) (Galway, N.

I thought the Home Secretary was going to agree to the Amendment, from his speech; but be has not done so. The Court of Quarter Sessions would be an admirable Court of Appeal in Ireland, as the County Court Judge there is the Chairman of that body. But it has been explained to me that the Court of Quarter Sessions in England consists of nobody but the Magistrates, and it seems to me that that would be a most dreadful tribunal to hear these appeals. There are very few police in English counties —England in this respect being exactly the reverse of Ireland—and there are a great many police in the towns; and if the Magistrates were to have the control of the police, it would be a most serious blow to the Municipalities. It seems to me that, if the proposal of the Government is adopted, the police will not know who are to be their masters— whether the Municipality or the Magis- trates; but if you adopt the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, and leave the whole question of pensions, when there is a dispute, to a judicial mind like that of a County Court Judge, you will give the police fixity of tenure and judicial security for payment of what is due to them. I would point out that, in a letter to the Times, a Lord Lieutenant of a county not long ago insinuated that those Magistrates 'who speak against the Government in the House of Commons ought to resign. Well, it would appear from that that Lord Lieutenants might insist on Magistrates resigning in certain cases if they did not give pensions to the police.


I must condemn the tone of the speech of the Home Secretary, who apparently has no practical knowledge of this subject, or how Quarter Sessions in country districts are conducted. If the appeal is to the County Court Judge, the policeman will say he has a legal claim, and the County Court Judge will simply decide the point of law brought before him. There can be no doubt there will be considerable jealousy on the part of the Borough Councils if the County Magistrates are allowed to override them in regard to police pensions. That argument which was used by an hon. Member below the gangway is a powerful one, and is a valuable contribution to the Debate. The argument of the hon. Member for Caithness, that the Joint Committees are partly composed of County Magistrates, was also a strong one against the proposal of the Government. As Chairman of the Quarter Sessions in Anglesea, and also member of the Joint Committee, I should have to decide in the one capacity upon my action in the other. In the rural districts the Chairman of Quarter Sessions, as a rule, sits with, perhaps, not more than one other Magistrate. I think the appeal should lie with the County Court Judge, as he is the one man in the county who is accustomed to decide claims for pay. Surely he would be fitted to decide the questions of law arising under these clauses.

(9.47.) MR. MACLURE) (Lancashire, S.E., Stretford

I shall most emphatically support the Court of Quarter Sessions. If the appeal is to the Court of Quarter Sessions the County Com- mittee can be excluded, and then there will be a Court in which the constables will have confidence.

(9.49.) MR. LEAKE) (Lancashire, S.E., Radcliffe

I think that, so far as the Boroughs are concerned, the Govern-will be wise in leaving the arbitrament to the County Court Judge.


Under the clause as it stands, no matter within the discretion of the Police Authority will have to be determined by the Court of Appeal. The only question will be one of law, and it appears to me that the proper tribunal, therefore, will be the County Court Judge, and not the Quarter Sessions Court. The case for decision will really be in the nature of a civil action.

(9.51.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

The appeal is to be to the County Justices.


No; to the Recorder of the Borough.


There are no Recorders.


I think the Home Secretary does not know his Bill. There is no Recorder mentioned in the Bill. So that really there will be an appeal from the Borough to the County Magistrates. Undoubtedly there is strong jealousy on the part of the Boroughs against the County Magistrates, and I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to insert some words giving an appeal from the Borough Police to the Recorder of the Borough or the County Court Judge.


The hon. Gentleman has not observed that the Court of Quarter Sessions, having jurisdiction in the Borough, is already in the Bill, and that Recorders preside in all large Boroughs over the Courts of Quarter Sessions. The right hon. Gentleman opposite committed himself to the opinion that they were really civil matters and questions of law. They are not civil matters, but criminal matters, and! matters of fact. These are very proper to be decided in the Court of Quarter Sessions, and are utterly remote from those tried by the County Court Judges.

(9.53.) The House divided:— Ayes 107; Noes CO.—(Div. List, No. 227.)

(10.3.) DR. CLARK

Perhaps the Home Secretary might agree to make the matter optional. I beg to move an Amendment to that effect. In the case of a County, one-half the Police Committee consists of Magistrates, and therefore in appealing to the Justices, the constable would have, we will say, to appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. I think he ought to have the right to appeal to someone who has not given a decision already.

Amendment proposed, in page 8, line 20, after the word "sessions," to insert the words "or to the County Court Judge."—(Dr. Clark.)

Question proposed, "That those words foe there inserted."

(10.6.) MR. MATTHEWS

I take it for granted that Magistrates who are on the Joint Committee will be absolutely disqualified from sitting in the Court of Quarter Sessions on the hearing of an appeal against their decision. This is the rule in all appeals from Petty Sessions to Quarter Sessions. No Justice whose decision is appealed against does sit in Quarter Sessions on the hearing of the appeal, and if one did so, the decision of the Quarter Sessions would be invalid. The questions which will arise on appeal are all criminal questions or questions of fact. County Court Judges know no more, and, indeed, not as much, about what a police constable ought to do as members of the Quarter Sessions Court. The hon. and gallant Member opposite (Captain Verney) says his knowledge of Quarter Sessions dates back 30 years. I may say I practised in Quarter Sessions when the hon. and gallant Gentleman was still rolling on the briny ocean. Quarter Sessions deal with Licensing Appeals, and with appeals on other matters, and they are quite competent to act in this way.

(10.10.) Question put, and negatived.


The next Amendment was suggested by my learned Friend the Member for the Leek Division of Staffordshire (Mr. H. T. Davenport). It is meant to meet the case of a Borough like Lichfield, which has a Court of Quarter Sessions, a Recorder, and a Police Force of its own. We want to provide that a constable of a County shall appeal to the Quarter Sessions of the County, and a constable of a Borough having a Quarter Sessions, to such Quarter Sessions.

Amendment proposed in Clause 11, page 8,line 20, leave out from "having," to "serving," in line 21, inclusive, and insert— For the county within which the constable last served; or if the constable last served in the police force of a borough having a separate police force and a separate court of quarter sessions, then to the next practicable court of quarter sessions for that borough."— (Mr. Matthews).

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what he proposes in the case of a large number of Boroughs that have a Borough Bench but no Court of Quarter Sessions.


They must go to the County.


I will not trespass on the House now because I have given notice that immediately these words are struck out I shall move a consequential Amendment to cover the case of Boroughs with a Bench of Magistrates.

Question put, and negatived.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

(10.15.) MR. STOREY

The clause as it now stands provides that in a County the appeal shall be to a Court of Quarter Sessions, and that in a Borough, with a separate Police Force and aseparate Court of Quarter Sessions, the appeal shall be to the Quarter Sessions of that Borough. I do not contest the fairness of that provision, but I put to the Government the case, not of one, but of many towns, large and small A very considerable number of Boroughs have Borough Benches of their own, and Police Forces of their own, and they do not want to have to appeal to the Court of Quarter Sessions. The right hon. gentleman must be aware that there is a long standing feud between the Magistrates of the Boroughs and the Magistrates of the Counties. [Cries of " No, no."] The hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Howard Vincent) says "No," but he cannot know much about it. ["Why not?"] Because he has never had much practical acquaintance with Boroughs. [Mr. Howard Vincent: "I am a Borough Member."] I know he has been a Borough Member for a limited number of years, but what does he know about the management of Boroughs? When I said a feud, I did not mean a personal feud. The County Magistrates used to claim jurisdiction in the Borough, and they used to sit with the Borough Magistrates and attempt to adjudicate with them. In the end, the Borough Magistrates appealed to the Superior Courts in order to be delivered from that state of things, and a working arrangement was made under which the Borough Magistrates sat for five days in the week, and the County Magistrates came in on the Saturday and took County cases. In the Boroughs we are strongly of opinion that, as we manage our own affairs municipally, we ought to do so judicially. What does the right hon. Gentleman propose in the Bill which he says he understands, and which he says I do not? He proposes that if in such large towns as South Shields, Stockton, Sunderland, and Gateshead, we have a dispute with a policeman as to his pension, we shall pass over the Borough Bench and go to the County Magistrates at Durham. The Municipalities object to such an arrangement, and therefore I beg to propose to add to the clause the words,"or if in a Borough with a Borough Bench but not a Court of Quarter Sessions for the Borough, then to the Borough Bench."

Amendment proposed, at the end of the last Amendment, to insert the words— Or if in a borough with a borough bench but not a court of quarter sessions for the borough, then to the borough bench."—(Mr. Storey.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

*(10.23.) MR. MATTHEWS

I am sorry that I cannot agree to any of the hon. Member's Amendments. I do not think that the hon. Member has thought out what he has proposed. This is a question of appeal, not a matter of legal right; and such appeal must go to a Court. A Borough Bench is not a Court; they have no jurisdiction, either by common law or statute; they have no place of meeting for the transaction of business. They have no corporate or collective existence at all; they are a mere congeries of atoms. Therefore, the proposal of the hon. Member is one which is simply impossible in law and impracticable in fact.

(10.25.) SIR H. DAVEY (Stockton)

I really do not feel much impressed by the legal argument of the right hon. Gentleman. It is quite true that a Bench of Borough Magistrates may not have the jurisdiction of a Court of Quarter Sessions, but we are now debating a new statutory jurisdiction, and I cannot see why, when we are creating a new statutory jurisdiction de novo, we should not give it to the Bench of Borough Magistrates meeting in their usual place. This is not old business which has hitherto been transacted by the Court of Quarter Sessions; it is new business altogether; it is more in the nature of arbitration than anything else it is the appeal of a policeman against the depreciation of his pension. It is quite true that words may be requisite to explain and guard the Amendment, but as to the legal impossibility, I must say that I am not impressed by the arguments of the Home Secretary.

(10.27.) MR. ADDISON (Ashton-under-Lyue)

I really am quite astonished at the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Stockton (Sir H. Davey). All who are acquainted with Quarter Sessions know that they are a Court of Record, cognizant of such matters as those into which we are now inquiring, whereas the Borough Magistrates are not a Court at all in the legal sense of the word. The hon. Member for Sunderland speaks of a contest between Borough and Country Magistrates. I am well acquainted with Lancashire, and to say that there is any contest between the Borough Magistrates and the County Magistrates in that County, where there-are many Borough Magistrates, is a mere-fiction.

*(10.29.) MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)

I am amazed to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman say that there is no jealousy between the Borough and the County Magistrates in Lancashire. At every Quarter Sessions complaints, are heard on the part of the Borough Magistrates of Manchester and Liverpool of their decisions being overridden by the County Magistrates. I trust the Secretary of State will inform himself on this point. I can assure him that if ho does not listen with favour and consideration to the appeal on behalf of the Borough Magistrates, he will give a great deal of pain to a great many worthy supporters of the party of which he is a distinguished ornament. We have heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Addison) that Borough Magistrates are not a Court. Well, my hon. Friend, the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey), who has been accused of ignorance, is well aware of that; it is a fact we have known for a long time; a fact which we dislike and which troubles us. We consider that Borough Magistrates, being such as we know them to be, are quite as capable of forming an opinion as Magistrates appointed by Lords Lieutenant of Counties. I trust yet that the Home Secretary will see fit to add these words which, by the hon. and learned Member for Stockton (Sir Horace Davey), have been declared to be necessary. I do not pretend to give a legal opinion, but it does not seem to me to be necessary that Borough Magistrates should be constituted a Court with full legal powers in order to act as a Court of Arbitration between policemen and those who govern them. However much we may be impressed by what the Home Secretary tells us; however much he tells us of the difficulty of making Borough Magistrates into a Court, it does not seem to me to be necessary, and I trust hon. Members opposite who represent borough constituencies, and there are a good many of them, I am sorry to say, will support our proposal.

*(10.31.) SIR A. ROLLIT

Hitherto I have supported the Government as to the appeal tribunal, but I hope some concession will be made to the strong feeling that undoubtedly exists in Boroughs. I wish to avoid exaggerating that feeling, but undoubtedly there does exist some jealousy between Boroughs and Counties in respect to the distinctions in jurisdiction between the Magistrates in either, for example, with reference to hearing licensing appeals; a feeling, I think, it would be well to get rid of. I confess there is a difficulty as to the Amendment, which is crudely worded, but it is of a technical and legal character. The Borough Magistrates exercise jurisdiction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts, and a slight addition to their power would enable them to act in cases such as is here proposed. From the point of view of the policeman, it should be observed that he is dependent on the pension for his subsistence, and it is important to him to have a speedily and easily accessible tribunal to which he can go without expense. The Borough Magistrates present such a tribunal in Boroughs, and I cannot doubt that they would deal out substantial justice. I was much impressed by what was said by the hon. Member for the City of Edinburgh, but even then I supported the Government, believing that on the whole they had proposed the best tribunal; but I do hope that the Government will see their way to making this concession.

*(10.33.) MR. SINCLAIR) (Falkirk, &c.

Speaking as a Magistrate of Liverpool, I hope the Government will make this concession. In Liverpool, as we know, there is an appeal to the Recorder, but there are two adjacent Boroughs where there is no Recorder, and where the appeal will be to Quarter Sessions: I mean Bootle, and, on the other side of the Mersey, Birkenhead. In these two Boroughs, practically running into Liverpool, the distinction will create some feeling it is desirable to avoid. Without going so far as to say there is ill-feeling between County and Borough Magistrates in Lancashire, I may say the distinction is felt; and whatever feeling there is should be removed, and at hast should not be added to by increasing the points of distinction in jurisdiction. The distinctions are very prominently brought out when of members of the same family some are Magistrates in Boroughs and others in Counties.

(10.35.) THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir E. CLARKE,) Plymouth

I think my hon. Friend who spoke from this side, and others, do not really see what the question is. If there is to be an appeal at all, it must be to a court or definite body with power to deal with the matter in question. It is perfectly intelligible that an appeal should be to the Court of Quarter Sessions, but in a borough which has no Court of Quarter Sessions the Borough Justices do not form any court at all, and have no means of forming a court. There is no court to which an appeal could be taken, and it would take an Act of Parliament to form Borough Magistrates into a specific court in order to deal with this matter. In such cases I submit it is only reasonable that the appeal should be to the Quarter Sessions of the County.

(10.37.) MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

But under an Act of Parliament Borough Magistrates have been constituted a court for the purpose of dealing with wrecks in certain cases. Surely there would be little difficulty in constituting a certain number of Magistrates into a Court to deal with these pension cases?

(10.38.) DR. CLARK

Under the Merchant Shipping Act Amendment Act they are constituted a court with assessors under the Board of Trade.


Under special Act.


Yes; but the view presented to us is that they are a heterogeneous body, having no jurisdiction as a court. Why, they try and send persons to prison; they have various functions; they have clerk and officers; they have, as a matter of fact, been constituted a court under the Board of Trade. Your description is a caricature of their position. The House of Commons is, in theory, the secondary chamber to the Lords, but time has increased the power of the one and diminished the power of the other; and so, also, with these two classes of Magistrates. It is merely a technical, not a real difficulty that is raised. Borough Magistrates are, in fact, a fully competent court to deal with such cases as an Act of Parliament may entrust them with.

(10.41.) The House divided:—Ayes 74; Noes 116.—(Div. List, No. 228.)


I rise to move the omission of Clause 13. It is a matter of great importance to pensioners, and it will be observed that my hon. Friend the Member for South Islington has notice of an Amendment to a like effect. It is a subject I raised in the Standing Committee, but it is of such importance that I venture to invite thereon the judgment of the House. Clause 13 provides that a constable's pension may be suspended if he takes employment in another police force, and that if a con- stable takes employment paid for by Government, or out of a county or borough rate, he shall not receive more pension than shall, together with the pay of his employment, amount to one-and-a-half times his police full pay. Clause 8 has dealt with offences for which a pensioner shall forfeit his pension, and this clause prevents him from following certain occupations. This, I think, is most unfair and undesirable. If a man has served 25 years in the Force he has fairly earned his pension, and if any County Council or Town Council or any Local Authority chooses to employ him in any light occupation, so much the better for him; but I see no ground on that account why he should forfeit his pension. We give by this Bill, as the Home Secretary has said, a policeman an absolute legal right to a pension; but I may point out that the second part of the section—there is not perhaps so strong an objection to the first part—the second part would absolutely prevent a pensioner from even taking charge of an empty house belonging to the County Council, because for that duty he would be paid out of a borough or county rate or fund. I hope I may have such support as may induce the Government to consent to the omission of the clause. It is of vital importance to pensioners. It puts a restraint upon industry, and a premium upon idleness. I may appeal to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, who takes such an active interest in this Bill. He, I am quite sure, would not wish that a disqualification of the kind should attach to acceptance of a pension. I take his own case. He is in receipt of a pension for services rendered—




No-well, then, it is an annuity. I think the hon. Gentleman called it an annuity in the Grand Committee. But he, I am sure, would admit the injustice of attaching to the receipt of this superannuation allowance a disqualification against the employment of his abilities in other directions.

Amendment proposed, in pages 8 and 9, to leave out Clause 13.—(Mr. Howard Vincent.')

Question proposed, "That Clause 13 stand part of the Bill."

(10.53.) SIR G. CAMPBELL

; As the hon. Member has appealed to me, I say at once that not only can I not support him, but I can hardly think he is serious in his proposal. He proposes that a man having served in a Police Force and being' discharged with a pension, shall be allowed to go to the next town or county and there take service in another Local Force and continue to draw both pay and pension. That seems to me a preposterous proposal, and I do not think that the hon. Member can seriously mean to make it. The hon. Member cites, by way of illustration, the taking care of an empty house for a County Council, but this is not a case in point, because it will be noticed that the proviso is that pay and pension combined shall not be more than one and a-half times his full police pay. This prohibition against employment in other branches of the Civil Service while drawing a Civil pension is a principle generally applied. If I may make a personal reference, I may tell the hon. Member that I do not draw a pension, and that I served so long that I consider that I entirely paid for my annuity, and that I receive no contribution from the Government at all. That being so, I consider myself free to accept any employment that may be offered.

*(10.54.) SIR A. ROLLIT

The proposal appears to me to be not only a serious one, but one to be seriously supported. There is probably no stronger feeling among the police in reference to this Bill than that in favour of the omission of the clause before the House. The Bill proposes that the men shall have an absolute right to the pension on certain conditions, and the contract with them is for, say, plus, a pension at the end of a certain period of approved service. If the men fulfil those conditions, I cannot see why any limitation should be put upon their future employment. The case of the Army is analagous. In the Army the soldiers have pensions, and when they are discharged every one most earnestly and properly desires that they should find good employment. Both the present and the late Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police draw pensions from the Army, and do or did most meritorious service in the police at the same time. To proscribe a policeman able to work, and offered the opportunity for employment is justified by no reason whatever. His fitness to engage in his new employment is entirely a question for those who engage him; and having performed his part of the contract of service in the force he is entitled to the pension and the right to the profitable employment of his remaining time. In the interest of the force, and in the interest of the public, because it will be an additional encouragement to efficient service, I hope my hon. Friend will press the Amendment, with the result that it will ultimately be accepted.


I supported the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sheffield in Committee, and I think it is founded on common sense. I do not think a man should get a pension so long as he is fit for his work; and I think two or three millions would be saved in Army, Navy, and Civil Service pensions if this principle were acted upon. If a man is fit for the work on which he is engaged, why drive or coax him out of the service with a pension? This was the point I maintained in the discussion on the Army Pension Bill, and I spoke for an hour upon it; but when once you have got rid of a man with a pension, let him be free to employ his time and industry as best he can. I therefore support the Amendment.

(10.57.) MR. MATTHEWS

The logic of the hon. and gallant Gentleman is difficult to follow. He is prepared to grant a pension to a man when he is disabled for further work, but this clause deals with the case of a man who shows that he is not disabled, having undertaken similar work. Ho leaves the police because he is no longer able to do the work.


No, that is not the Bill.


He either is discharged upon a medical certificate, or he is discharged at the end of 25 years' service. The hypothesis upon which a policeman receives a pension is either that he is medically unfit, or that, having served 25 years, his nerves are shattered and his strength gone through prolonged conflict with the criminal classes. The theory is that the man's exertions in the Public Service have worn him out. It is upon that theory, and that theory alone, that he is pensioned. But if the man takes service in another Force it proves that theory to be wrong, and, therefore, it is right the pension should be forfeited. The case of deferred pay is altogether different; there it is a matter of contract, and there is an end of it. But that is not the principle here, which is compensation to a man for exhaustion of mental or bodily faculties worn out in the Public Service.


One argument has not been advanced, and that is the great advantage of the public in being able to employ policemen. I shall support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sheffield on that ground. I think it would be a great misfortune and drawback not to be allowed to employ policemen, simply because they are in receipt of pensions, and, therefore, I shall indulge in the extremely novel sensation of supporting an Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman opposite.

(11.1.) MR. BURDETT COUTTS (Westminster)

I also shall support the Amendment. I do not see why, after a man has earned his pension by serving the required period, any restraint should be placed on his making the best of the energies he may retain. I think the police feel very strongly on the point, and I certainly intend to support the Amendment.

(11.3.) MR. BARTLEY) (Islington, N.

I think we are going too far in this Bill. We are giving the police the enormous advantage of obtaining a pension at the age of 46 years. It certainly cannot be in the interest of the ratepayers to allow a man of 46 years to receive a pension, and then go on in the Service with full pay as well. No other of policemen. We are making most class of public servant—neither soldier nor sailor—is allowed such a privilege, and I do not think we ought to hold out such bribes, in order to catch the votes liberal arrangements in the interest of the police, but I do not think we shall be justified in going to this extreme.

(11.5.) MR. ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I shall support the Amendment. Representing, as I do, an East End constituency I feel that I cannot do otherwise. I hold that, after a policeman has earned his pension by, say, a service of 25 years, he has a right to be perfectly free to do what he likes.

(11.7.) DR. CLARK

Policemen are compelled to pay a portion of their wages to the Pension Fund, and if they are so unfortunate as to fall sick, the sick leave is deducted for the period of service. As a matter of fact, the granting- of these pensions will prevent agitation for higher wages, and the men will not get that increase of pay which they would have obtained if the pensions were not to bo granted. A man of 46 years, even after 25 years' service, may be able to get light employment in various capacities, and I think it would be acting most unfairly towards him to prevent him doing so. I think he has an absolute right to his pension. He has paid for it, and if you prevent him working, simply because he receives a pension, I think you will deprive him of a great privilege. I know that in Scotland a number of ex-policemen find light employment. Whatever may be the case in London, we know that in the provinces very few policemen are worn out at the age of 46 years, and that most of them are quite fit for another 10 years' service. They are not likely to retire on a pension if they are able to continue in the Force at full pay.

(11.10.) MR. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)

Two points have been lost sight of by the hon. Members who have supported this Amendment. In the first place it is clear that a police officer who gets a pension is not prevented from taking any other work, but he may undertake employment, the remuneration for which does not exceed one and a half times the amount of his former salary. If he should be able to get a salary in excess of that, the argument comes in that he is a man who ought not to be pensioned at all. It is said that this pension is an absolute right; but, on the other hand, I venture to suggest that tin's Bill was promoted not in the interests of policemen alone, but in the public interest. If a man is absolutely disabled by illness from work after a certain age, it is presumed he is incapacitated from taking other employment, and certainly nothing should be done to induce him to hold office after the time fixed by law as that at which he ought to retire. As a matter of fact, men are sometimes retained in office after they are unfit to serve. But who suffers from that? The public, of course: and our object ought to be to get rid of a man immediately he is past work. If you do not give him an opportunity of taking public employment in this way you will have the Service retaining men beyond the period at which they are fit to work. This is really a question for the ratepayers.

(11.12.) MR. HUNTER

I hope the Government will remain firm. This is a clause similar to one contained in the Scotch Bill, and upon that clause the Scotch Committee was perfectly unanimous. It was felt that men in receipt of a pension at an early age ought not to be allowed to go into the labour market and compete with those who have not the advantage of receiving a pension.

*(11.13.) MR. KELLY

I wish to ask a question as to what is the present practice. Is a man deprived of a part of his pension if he chooses to work after he has earned it? Surely it is not so. Let the House just consider what it would be to deprive policemen of the power of earning further money. Could a policeman live on a pension of £31) a year. I venture to say he could do nothing of the kind. The hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen talked about policemen who had been pensioned going into the labour market, and so, with their pensions, being able, upon unfair terms, to compete with other labour. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, on the other hand, talked about policemen being utterly worn out before they obtained their pensions. I think both these views are more or less erroneous. Now, I can understand it being contended that the pensions have nothing of the character of deferred pay (though that seems to be a total mistake, as they are to have 2½ per cent, taken from their pay), that no pensions at all ought to be given, or that this should in no case be done until a man is unfit for service, but if you are going to give pensions, then I hold that they should be given unconditionally, and that they should not be used as a means of depriving the public of the service of the best and most trustworthy men that can be obtained for that large number of posts for which pensioned policemen would have especial qualifications.

(11.15.) MR. STOREY

I almost felt inclined to vote for this Amendment a little while ago, and I am not sure that I shall not do so now. I submit that if a pension is a matter of right, its enjoyment ought not to be restricted by any conditions such as these. There are many posts which pensioned policemen could well fill to the public advantage. I hold that the position of the Home Secretary is utterly illogical, and I shall satisfy my ancient grudge against him by voting for the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield.

(11.17.) The House divided:—Ayes 116; Noes 51.—(Div. List, No. 229.)

(11.26.) MR. STOREY

I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name—

*(11.26.) MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I wish to ask, as a point of order, Mr. Speaker, whether it is respectful to the House that an hon. Member should put down so many Amendments on the Paper and not take the trouble to-be in his place, leaving the Member for Sunderland to take them up, and entail a debate for upwards of an hour with the result that we are now only in the position we occupied when the Debate commenced.


The hon. Member is in order.


This clause contains provisions as to service in more than one capacity. The first sub-section of the clause provides that when a person has served as a Civil Servant within the meaning of the Superannuation Act, 1887, and afterwards joins the police, he shall be entitled to reckon his entire period of service in both capacities for the purposes of a pension. I want to know from the Government why they have introduced this provision? We have just decided that if a policeman be pensioned, and then goes into the Civil Service, he must suffer some deprivation of pension should his salary exceed a given amount. Why should Civil Servants entering the police be entitled to reckon their service prior to joining the Force, for the purpose of pension? I should have thought it was quite sufficient to reckon the service in the Police Force without taking into account what a man has been before becoming a police-man. If we are going to give a man a pension for becoming a policeman we ought not to take into account his services in some other capacity. I submit that there is no earthly reason why the provision should be retained in the Bill, and I, therefore, beg to move that Subsection 1 of Clause 14 be omitted, and that the time for which a policeman may claim a pension shall be only that period which he has served as a police officer in some Force in the United Kingdom.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 10, to leave out Sub-section (i.) of Clause 14.—(Mr. Storey.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (i.) of Clause 14 stand part of the Bill.'

(11.30.) MR. MATTHEWS

The inconvenience of these discussions is illustrated on this point by a reference to what took place in Committee. There the matter was discussed and a compromise arrived at. The hon. Member did not honour us with his assistance in Committee, and now he raises an abstract objection. We have arrived at an equation between the years of Civil Service and Public Service. There are cases in which members of the Civil Service have done good service in the police, and have taken the new service only on the condition that their former years of service should not be wiped out. If you do not establish a ratio of service in the two Services yon establish the strongest motive why a man should not accept service in the Police Force. The case has more frequently arisen in the Metropolis, where Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners, after being admirable Civil Servants, have become admirable police officers. In both capacities they have rendered great service, and it would be most undesirable to discourage distinguished Civil Servants who have acquired valuable experience from taking service in the police; and they would be discouraged if they were not allowed to reckon their service as Civil Servants in the computation for pensions. Taking the difference in the age of retirement from the Civil Service and the present proposal in this Bill, which, though not defining an age. practically means retirement at from 46 to 50, we have arrived at the ratio as between service in either, and consider that four years in the Civil Service equals three years in the police. But all this was fully discussed in Committee, and I regret that it should be raised again.


The right hon. Gentleman has repeatedly complained of raising in the House questions that have been discussed in Committee, but I do not think he has any right to make any such complaint As I am giving him general support in furthering the progress of the Bill, I I hope I may not be suspected of any ulterior motive when I remind the right hon. Gentleman that he was fairly warned from these Benches, and also from the Front Opposition Bench, that very little time would be saved by taking the course of referring the Bill to s Grand Committee. From the character of the Bill we anticipated that discussions would be re-opened in the House as they have been from either side. After the warning the Government had, I hope we may not again have these complaints.

(11.37.) The House divided:—Ayes 158, Noes 30.—(Div. List, No. 230.)

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, to leave out the words "in England or Wales."—(Mr. Secretary Matthews.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'in England or Wales' stand part of the Bill."

(11.45.) MR. STOREY

I admit this is a formal Amendment, but I must say if a number of us had seen the Amendment in time, which the right hon. Gentleman suddenly proposed to Clause 4,which was not discussed in Committee, but accepted in Committee, we should have taken the opportunity to resist it at that time. As this is a consequential Amendment, and raises the same point, I may tell the right hon. Gentleman my point of objection. In Clause 4, as it originally stood, years of approved service by a constable in one Police Force in Great Britain should be reckoned as service on his joining another Force. It applied to Great Britain, and we did not make any objection, because the Police Force in Scotland is very much the same as in England. The Home Secretary has however, suddenly foisted on the ratepayers of Great Britain the Royal. Irish Constabulary, the armed force which keeps the Irish people in order. I object that a force which is in no sense a police force, but which is simply a military force, kept for the purpose of dragooning the Irish people, should be placed on the same level as the purely civil forces of England and Scotland. I doubt not there are many decent men in the ranks of the Royal Irish Constabulary, but take them as a whole, they are more akin to a military than a civil force. Now, the hon. Member for Sheffield is presently going to move an Amendment that service in the Army and Navy shall be reckoned in computing pensions for policemen. Has he got the Government assent to that proposal? I understand that the Government are going to resist that Amendment to provide that service in the Army or the Navy should be reckoned. If this is the case, then with what consistency can they support the reckoning' of the services of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which is much more like an army than a police force? We deeply regret that this fruitful source of discussion was not discovered on Clause 4; but, inasmuch as the same question now arises, it will be our duty to resist this Amendment. Holding our peculiar views— and intelligible views—of the constitution of the Royal Irish Constabulary the right hon. Gentlemen can hardly expect us to assent to all such members of that force who come over here being allowed to compete with our own people here for enhanced pensions. I shall take a Division against the Amendment.

*(11.48.) MR. BRUNNER

This proposal is exceedingly unfair to the English police. A great many of us are looking forward to the time when there will be a very large exodus of the Constabulary from Ireland where their numbers are far beyond the requirements of a peaceful country—


I do not think this discussion is in order. The point has been already settled. This is a consequential Amendment upon the decision the House has arrived at, and it is impossible for the hon. Member to raise the discussion again, as if it were a new question.


On the point of order, Sir, will you permit me to point out that the question settled upon Clause 4 was that years of approved service in any Police Force in Great Britain should be reckoned as approved service for a pension, but this practically raises the question of including Ireland.


Clauses 4 and 14 raise practically the same question, and, indeed, I may remind the hon. Member that he began his speech by remarking that this was a formal and consequential Amendment. I thought the hon. Member was going to make a few remarks, and not to raise the whole question again. He would be clearly out of order in doing that.

(11.50.) The House divided:—Ayes-57; Noes 128.—(Div. List, No. 231.)

It being after Midnight, Further Proceeding on Consideration, as amended, stood adjourned.

Further Consideration, as amended, to be resumed to-morrow.