HC Deb 05 August 1890 vol 347 cc1943-63

As amended, further considered.

Amendments made.

(6.0.) MR. ATHERLBY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)

The House will observe that the Pension Fund is to be made up from various sources, one of which is the deduction of 2½ per cent. per annum from the wages of the constables. Now, that percentage will be recognised by all hon. Members as perfectly illusory, for the purpose of forming a substantial contribution to the fund; indeed, for all practical purposes, there might as well be no such contribution at all. What I propose is, then, that instead of the contribution being 2½ per cent. it should be 5 per cent. I know it may possibly be argued by the right hon. Gentleman that this would constitute a heavy tax on the police; but when I compare the wages they received with those paid to men belonging to a similar class in life, I think the conclusion is justifiable that a deduction of 5 per cent. would not be excessive. For instance, in the Metropolis the constables start with wages of 24s. a week, and are supplied in addition with boots and clothing, while, in the event of a man being unmarried, he can have quarters, including fire and lighting, for the moderate sum of 1s. per week. Can it be said, then, that a deduction of 5 per cent. is too heavy? Further than that, I believe that, in the case of all-other pension funds established for the benefit of bodies of workmen, the deduction is higher than 2½ per cent. I again pray in aid of the case of the Scotch Bill, in which it is provided that the rate of deduction in the case of officers above the rank of sergeant shall be 7½ per cent. I trust the Home Secretary will leave this an open question, and that I shall be supported by hon. Members opposite instead of their giving the customary silent vote against propositions emanating from this side of the House.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 31, to leave out the words "two and a half," and insert the word "five."— (Mr. Atherley-Jones.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'two and a half' stand part of the Bill."


If this question had appeared as res nova there would have been a good deal of force in the contention of the hon. Member, because 2½ per cent. may be called an infinitesimal percentage. It must be borne in mind, however, that the subject does not come before us as res nova. A series of Bills have been introduced by successive Governments, all of them containing a limit of 2½ per cent., and this, too, is the contribution enforced upon all the workmen employed by the great Railway Companies.


I will not press the Amendment, but will ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

We are always told that this Bill has been framed in the interests of the Public Service, and not merely of the police. In the Scotch Committee the majority insisted that officers above the rank of sergeant should pay 7½ per cent. instead of 2½ per cent. In the case of an officer, in all probability his contributions to the Pension Fund for the great part of his service have been based on a low rate of pay, whereas his pension is calculated on the higher salary received in the last few years. That is the ground on which the Scotch Committee varied the percentage, and the Amendment I am now proposing is somewhat of a compromise on the point. A question was also raised as to whether officers who had not contributed to the fund ought not to be subjected to a further deduction. The Government undertook to consider this, and I should like to know at what conclusion they have arrived.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 33, after the word "deduction," to insert the words— (b) Every officer above the rank of sergeant sums after the rate of five per cent, of his pay."—(Sir George Campbell.)

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

(6.13.) MR. MATTHEWS

The hon. Member will understand that the observations I made on the last Amendment apply equally to this.


How about the question of deductions for non-contribution?


We have considered that point, but we think it hardly necessary to alter the Bill in that respect, as very few such cases exist. No doubt in some parts there was a mistaken notion that a Chief Constable was not a constable in the ordinarily accepted sense of the term, and, therefore, was not allowed to pay anything to the Superannuation Fund. I think it would be very hard to make this Bill retrospective in such cases.

* MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)

I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman.


I will not press my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Another Amendment made.


I have to move a new sub-section providing that in cases where a constable's pay has not been subject to deductions for the Pen- sion Fund, it shall be competent for the Police Authority to diminish the pension as they may deem reasonable under the circumstances, but to an extent not exceeding one-fifth of the pension to which the officer would otherwise be entitled. I hope the Home Secretary will explain how the matter stands. He has once or twice ridiculed the idea that the word "constable" required defining-, yet we have been told that in many counties the people were under the impression that a Chief Constable was not a constable, and that, therefore, his salary-was not subject to deductions for pension. We have been told that in all boroughs the Chief Constables have contributed to the Superannuation Fund, but that the mistaken idea prevailed in several counties, and that the cases of non-contribution are so very few that it is hardly worth while altering the provisions of the Bill so as to deal with them. I say that if officers who have not contributed are put on the same footing as those who have, it would be a great scandal. It is to obviate any harm arising from such a cause that I wish to move my Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 7, at the end of Clause 15, to insert the words— A constable has not been subjected to the deduction from his pay as above provided, as a contribution to the Pension Fund, for at least two-thirds of his whole service, the pension awarded to him shall be diminished to such an extent as to the Police Authority may seem reasonable under the circumstances, not exceeding one-fifth of the pension to which he would otherwise be entitled."—(Sir George Campbell.)

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

(6.20.) MR. MATTHEWS

I think the hon. Member is moving the Amendment in the wrong place. It more properly belongs to the section which applies to the cases of existing constables; and when we reach that part of the Bill, I shall be willing to accept a clause taken from Mr. Fowler's Bill, and which practically provides for the reduction of pension in these cases as suggested by the hon. Member.


And will that apply to the Scotch Act?


The case of Scotland is very different. There no member of the force has had deductions made from his wages for pension purposes. It would be a real grievance if a man who had been in the force 14 years and not paid any deductions, should at the end of another year be entitled to a pension, while a man just entering would have to serve 15 years and pay a percentage the whole time before becoming entitled to a pension. The case of England is that everybody practically has had to contribute to the Superannuation Fund, with the exception of a few chief constables, who have not been allowed to do so.

*(6.22.) MR. CHILDERS

I think the clause taken from the Bill of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) is the best one that could have been framed to meet this difficulty.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Other Amendments made.

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

I beg to move the omission of Clause 26, which gives power to charge upon the Police Fund the expenses when the military are called in to assist the police. This clause was not discussed in the Grand Committee, and introduces an entirely new principle which exists nowhere except in Ireland. I admit that were the military called in to assist the police on the responsibility of the County Council or some representative body, it might be reasonable that the locality should pay for it; but soldiers are called in on the signature of two Magistrates at the request of the chief constable—not representative people at all. Let me give the House three instances of this: A little while ago the soldiers were called in to assist the police in some tithe distraint at Anglesey by two Magistrates at the request of the chief constable. It was altogether against the wishes of the people, although they were not called upon to pay the cost. This clause may throw the burden on them in the future. I do not think the police are ever likely to be called in to assist at distraints for tithes in the future, because any Member for the County Council who voted for such a thing would lose his seat at the next election. Then, quite recently, the military were called on to quell some disturbances at Northampton. Their intervention was quite unnecessary, and the people were very angry about it. They would have been still more angry had they been called upon to pay the cost. The third case I wish to allude to is that of London. I do not think that Londoners would be very pleased if some unwise Home Secretary called upon the military to help the police when not necessary, and then threw the cost on the rates. Here are three instances in which the enforcement of this clause would create dissatisfaction. This is an entirely new departure, and I do not believe that anyone but the Irish people would submit to these conditions being imposed upon them. I think we ought to take a Division on this clause so as to see what hon. Members endorse the application of this entirely new principle. I submit that the clause is unnecessary, and that it will only breed ill-feeling and friction, and there is no demand for it from any quarter. It is an entirely new departure, and I hope the Home Secretary will not think it necessary to retain the clause.

Amendment proposed, to omit Clause 26.—(Captain Verney.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 26 stand part of the Bill."

*(6.31.) MR. MATTHEWS

The hon. and gallant Member is perfectly correct in saying that this matter was not discussed in Grand Committee. No one raised an objection to the clause. I took this clause bodily from the Bill of my predecessor. I do not think the Bill of Mr. Hibbert contained the clause, but the Bill of 1883 did, and all the successive Bills did. I will not argue whether it was wise to call out the military in Anglesey or in some other places, but I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman will dispute that there have been, and will be, occasions when it is necessary to call in the aid of the military. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War is giving up the system of having small bodies of troops in given localities, and is adopting the plan of concentration. Consequently, in case of the military being called in to aid the civil power, there will be travelling expenses incurred by the troops summoned to assist, and I see, to my astonishment, that it is Welsh Members who oppose this clause. I suppose that, on account of the unhappy tithe dispute, which is really only a passing incident in the history of Wales, I know no part of the country in which it may be more necessary than in Wales to be able to call in the military, because in no part of the country are the police forces so small as in Wales, because of the absence of lawlessness and the peaceable demeanour of the people. On the other hand, in case of emergency, such as the Turnpike Riots some years ago, the police forces would not be sufficient to cope with the disturbance. I do not attach very great importance to the clause; but it seems to me only fair that if the military are called out by the civil power, it would be extremely inconvenient that the expense should be thrown on the War Office Vote. If, at the request of the Local Authority, military are sent over to any given place, surely it is proper that the Local Authority should pay the expense.

*(6.36.) MR. CHILDERS

I regret I cannot agree with the Home Secretary on this question. So far from thinking this a small matter, I am afraid it is a large one. I do not attach much importance to it as a question of expenditure; but I think the principle which would be established by this clause is of great moment. A similar clause was in the Scotch Bill of this Session, and the Scotch Committee struck it out without opposition. If I remember right, the Lord Advocate entirely concurred in the omission. The fact is, it is an entirely new principle. All naval and military expenditure is defrayed out of the Votes of Parliament, and it is only upon the Estimates that the action of the Naval and Military Authorities can be challenged. If we allow a small amount of the military expenditure to be defrayed by any authority which is in no way responsible to Parliament, we shall prevent the possibility of the action arising out of that expenditure being challenged. As the right hon. Gentleman says he does not attach much importance to the matter, I trust he will consent to the omission of the clause.

(6.38.) MR. MATTHEWS

I do not share the constitutional scruples of my right hon. Friend, but inasmuch as my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate approved of the omission of the clause from the Scotch Bill, I will not press the clause.

Question put, and negatived.


I beg to move the omission of Sub-section 9 of Clause 29. This sub-section enables any constable, be he high or low, to accept the new Bill while availing himself of the privileges of the old Act. It seems to me entirely inconsistent with the principles of justice and right that a man should be allowed to pick and choose. Under this Bill no service under the age of 21 years is to count for pension; but in the old Act there is no such provision. A large number of men have entered the Service at 18, 19, and 20. In the Metropolitan Police Force there are 2,886 of such men. The other day the Home Secretary said it would be unjust to deprive them of service. It seems to me it would be unjust to allow them to take advantage of the new Bill while retaining the privileges they have under the old Act. A man can retire after 25 years' service, so that it is possible a man may retire at 43 years of age. I think it is altogether dangerous to allow men to retire at 46— the prime of life—and certainly I protest against some men being allowed to retire earlier.

Amendment proposed, in page 19, line 22, to leave out sub-section (9) of Clause 29.—(Sir George Campbell.)

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

(6.44.) MR. MATTHEWS

I do not think the hon. Member really means to press this Amendment. It is clear that it would not be just, for no reason whatever, to deprive a man of any sort of service which he is now entitled to reckon towards pension.

(6.47.) Question put, and agreed to.

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

I propose to move the following Amendment:— That the pension to a constable, on retirement without medical certificate, shall be according to the maximum scale provided by Part I of the First Schedule to this Act, my object being to give Parliamentary sanction to the maximum scale. The Bill lays down a maximum and a minimum, and leaves it to the Local Authority to draw its scale anywhere between the two limits. As far as the Metropolitan Police is concerned, this House is really the Local Authority; and I ask, therefore, that this House, in its character of the Local Authority, shall do what the other Local Authorities throughout the country will do by resolution. The only legitimate alternative to the proposal I am submitting seems to be to leave it to the London County Council to fix the scale. I do not know whether that would be agreeable to the right hon. Gentleman or even to the London County Council unless they took over the entire control of the police. I very much regret that this House should be really the Local Authority for the Metropolitan Police; but as long as it insists on occupying that position, it ought not to shrink from the responsibility and the duties of the office, and, therefore, I say we ought to do by Act of Parliament what the other Local Authorities would be able to do by resolution.

Amendment proposed, in page 19, after line 42, after the word "follows," to insert the words— The pension to a constable, on retirement without medical certificate, shall be according to the maximum scale provided by Part I. of the First Schedule to this Act."— (Mr. Pickersgill.)

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

(6.55.) MR. MATTHEWS

The hon. Member is not strictly accurate in calling Parliament the Local Authority in the Metropolis. The Secretary of State is the Local Authority of the Metropolis, although he is responsible to Parliament. I cannot assent to this proposition, and I may say it was made in the Grand Committee and rejected by a large majority.

(6.56.) MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)

I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman is not able to accept this proposal. It is either intended or not that the Metropolitan Police should be allowed to retire as suggested by the Home Secretary in Committee. All we say is, that if they are to have that privilege, it should be put into the Bill.

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

This is one of the difficulties that will continue to arise as long as the Metropolitan Police are under the control of the Home Office. The right hon. Gentleman may technically be right, but we want to have the matter settled in such a way that the men will know exactly where they are. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will even now assent to the Amendment.

(6.59.) MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)

I shall be obliged to vote for the Amendment, because it seems not altogether impossible that the future Police Authority for the Metropolis will be the London County Council, and I wish to protect the Metropolitan Police from the benevolent régime of that body.


As a member of the County Council, I heartily endorse what the hon. Gentleman opposite has said. There are several Metropolitan Members on that side of the House. I am watching them with interest, and hope they will tell the House what their views are.

SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

I do not know whether the hon. Member is watching me among the rest, but I am going to support the Amendment.

(7,1.) The House divided:—Ayes 51; Noes 163.—(Div. List, No. 233.)

Amendment proposed, in Clause 31, page 19, line 42, insert— The Court of Quarter Sessions to which an application is to be made with respect to the decision as to the pension or allowance shall be the Court of Quarter Sessions for the county of London."—(Mr. Secretary Matthews.)

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


The next Amendment raises an important and interesting point, which, I admit, was discussed in Committee, but not, as I think, satisfactorily decided. The short point of the Amendment is this: Admitting that pensions should be paid to the Commissioners of Police on their salaries, I raise objection to the further proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to pay pensions also to these gentlemen on their emoluments. The House will feel that the word "emoluments" is one of vague significance, and that we ought to know what it is that is included. According to the right hon. Gentleman, it includes a grant of £300 to each Commissioner for house rent—the idea, I suppose, being that they should live near their work, and, therefore, where rent is high. But it does not seem reasonable that when a man ceases to be an officer and becomes a pensioner, he should calculate his pension so far as regards this £300 on the same scale as that on which he calculates his pension on his salary as a whole. But I have another point: If you admit the principle of paying a pension on emoluments in the case of superior officers, I contend that you are bound also to give the same to the subordinate officers and the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police, and to effect that purpose I have an Amendment lower down on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary says these officers have a kind of legal right to receive pensions upon their emoluments, and he quotes the Metropolitan Police Staff Superannuation Act of 1875. I have that Act in my hand, and the word "emoluments," so far as I can see —and I have only glanced rapidly through the measure—never once occurs. The Home Secretary is empowered to make regulations respecting superannuation allowances on the like principle and conditions as were in force at the time of the passing of the Act in respect of persons in the Civil Service of the State. We were informed in the Committee that with regard to the Civil Service, the rule is that, in the case of emoluments of this kind and of an allowance for house-rent, the pension is not calculated on the whole of the allowance, but only on a proportionate part; and, therefore, I maintain that the right hon. Gentleman in the regulations which he has issued, or has professed to issue, under the authority of this Act, has not really been using the powers which are given to him. In the regulation the word "emoluments," I admit, does occur. It says— To any person who shall have served a certain number of years such an allowance based on his annual salary and the emoluments of his office. I do think that the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the word "emoluments" into the regulation has exceeded the powers given to him by the Act of 1875; but however that may be, we are now making new regulations with the Commissioners of Police. We are giving them, in many respects, substantial ad- vantages which hitherto they have not possessed; and, that being the case, I hold that we are in a position to revise our contract. Under any circumstances, the House will see that we must have some definite statement as to what "emoluments" include. We are told that they mean house-rent, but I have an idea that they mean something else. On looking over the accounts, I see that the Commissioners are allowed £150 as expenses for visiting the dockyards. Is that an emolument which comes under the clause? At present, having followed as closely as I could all the explanations offered by the right hon. Gentleman, I am totally in the dark as to what these "emoluments" consist of. I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.

Amendment proposed, in page 20, line 19, to leave out from the numbers"1875,"to the end of sub-section (4) of Clause 31.—(Mr. Pickersgill.)

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

(7.23.) MR. MATTHEWS

This is a subject which was eminently fit for the consideration of the Standing Committee, but which is eminently unfit for the consideration of the House. It is a matter of such intricacy and complexity that I feel it is by no means easy for me to make myself intelligible. As the House is aware, the salaries originally attached to the offices of Chief Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners were in time recognised to be inadequate for the class of officers it was considered desirable to appoint, and to remedy this these officers were subsequently granted a "house allowance" of £300 a year. The salaries used to be £1,500 a year and £800 a year. The Home Secretary of the day shrank from asking for an increase of these salaries, which would have been the straightforward way of proceeding; and under the Metropolitan Police Staff Superannuation Act of 1875 it was provided that the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner should get their pensions, not only on their nominal salaries, but also on their house allowances.


That was done by regulation; it is not in the Act.


Probably not; but the Act enabled the Home Secretary to make regulations corresponding to those made by the Treasury under the Civil Service Regulation Act. The pension is not allowed on any emolument beyond these house allowances. If the contention of the hon. Member is right, that these payments cannot be made under the Act of 1875, then they will not be made under this clause, for all the clause does is to preserve to these officers that which they are entitled to under the Act of 1875. This clause simply preserves to these officers that which they have got already under a complicated net-work of Acts for which my predecessors, and not I, are responsible. If the old status does not give the right to have this £300 a year for house allowances, it will not be conferred by this clause. It really requires a study of half a dozen Acts of Parliament to see how this clause applies, but it is quite clear that it only preserves existing rights.


This is a very important question, and it looks to me very much as if a job was being perpetrated. The right hon. Gentleman says that previous Home Secretaries deceived Parliament. [Cries of "No!"] Yes; Parliament was deceived when it was induced to pay the policeman's rent.


I have not made the assertion the hon. Gentleman attributes to me, and I would beg the hon. Member not to impute to me what I have not said.


I think that is the reasonable construction of the right hon. Gentleman's words. He told the House it was desired to raise the salaries of these gentlemen, but Home Secretaries did not like blankly to ask for an increase of salary for them, and so they asked for rent. If that is not deceiving Parliament, I do not know what is. Well, I say it is unreasonable and unfair to impute to previous Home Secretaries that they deceived Parliament. It is well-known that rents are high in the Metropolis, and it was quite reasonable to give their rents to these high officers. Now, however, you are giving these men favourable terms, and you are going to let them have this privilege in addition. I say it is some- thing very like a job, and that this Amendment ought to be accepted.

Question put, and agreed to.


It now logically follows that the House should accept the Amendment which stands next in my name. It is that the annual pay of the constable shall be deemed to include the value of all lodgings supplied to him, if any. I may point out that a provision substantially identical with this was introduced into a similar Bill brought forward by the Liberal Government in 1882. As the former Bills have been constantly quoted, I think that is a very strong precedent to bring forward.

Amendment proposed, in page 20, line 24, after the numbers"1875,"to insert the words— The annual pay of a constable shall be deemed to include the value of all lodging, if any, supplied to him."—(Mr. Pickersgill.)

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

*(7.33.) MR. MATTHEWS

There is no analogy whatever between the two kinds of allowance, and I do not think it logically follows that this Amendment should be agreed to. I have only asked the House to preserve a right already existing. If you are going to give a constable a right to a pension upon an allowance of this kind, you will, I think, be establishing a bad precedent. Question put, and negatived.

Other Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 1 postponed.

Schedules 2, 3, and 4 agreed to.

*(7.38.) MR. MATTHEWS

I now move to re-commit the Bill in respect of Clause 29 and the 1st Schedule. Two hon. Members have Amendments to the same effect which involve some slight change, and I have expressed the intention of the Government to support them if they moved the Amendments. My own Amendments provide for a slight alteration of the scale, so as somewhat to increase the maximum after 25 years' service. The proposal was originally made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Baumann) and rejected by the Committee. A number of Metropolitan Members on both sides of the House since told me that a slight increase in the scale for the Metropolitan Police would not in itself be onerous on the ratepayers, and would go far to satisfy the members of the force who look forward to obtaining the two-thirds pension at a somewhat earlier period than is now provided for. The whole of the evidence in the Blue Book tends to show that the Metropolitan policeman is worn out after 25 years' service or thereabouts, and it is on that principle that we allow him to retire after 25 years' service without a medal or certificate. I have placed Amendments on the Paper, which will make the scale progressive.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be re-committed in respect of Clause 29, and Schedule 1."— (Mr. Secretary Matthews.)


The House must thoroughly understand what this means; it means a reversal of the decision of the Grand Committee, arrived at by an enormous majority. Up to a certain point the Home Secretary was able to carry that Committee with him, but there came a point when the Committee revolted against his proposals; the proposal he has placed on the Paper was submitted to the Standing Committee and rejected by 15 to 6. Again, this is a surrender to the agitation in the Metropolitan Police Force against which the Home Secretary hitherto struggled, and as we supposed, struggled manfully. This is the question on which Mr. Monro went out of office, and on which the Home Secretary was supported against Mr. Monro. It is true he has not, in so many words, conceded the two-thirds pension after 25 years; he effects a compromise in a way, as it were, to save his honour. He has come back to the old argument that constables are worn out after 25 years' service. But we must distinguish between constables in a technical S3nse and constables in a practical sense. It is true, men who walk the streets are worn out after 25 years, but the officers are not worn out after such service. It is the officers who were led by Mr. Monro, and who got up the agitation. The agitation was repudiated by the men. It was an agitation which we thought the Home Secretary was going strongly to resist; but it was an agitation to which he has now yielded. Before he left office Mr. Monro told the officers they were bound to win, and they practically have won.

(7.45.) MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I entirely disagree with the observations of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy as to the opinion of the Grand Committee on this subject. The concession of the Home Secretary is exceedingly generous, and one which will be readily accepted by the police. It will prove a great benefit to the whole of the Force, men as well as officers. I have an Amendment on the Paper giving two-thirds, but I shall not think of pressing it after the generous concession of the right hon. Gentleman.

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

What the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy has said with regard to what took place in Committee is quite correct, and I hope my right hon. Friend, in the new schedule, will adhere to the minimum rate placed in the Bill. It is very important, in country districts especially, that we should have an opportunity of stating what we believe to be a fair and reasonable and proper pension for the police. We should like to have the minimum retained, as it is, because in many places the minimum would be absolutely sufficient for all purposes.


I earnestly hope that the appeal of my hon. Friend will be accepted, but that is not quite enough. It is quite impossible that anyone who does not agree with the proposal of the Home Secretary, and who has any sort of responsibility in the House should pass this matter by without a word. I regarded the original proposal with the greatest apprehension. I consider it a most serious thing that a man should have an absolute right after 25 years' service to have any pension whatsoever, unless he is incapacitated. The Home Secretary by this alteration, which is contrary to the vote of the majority of the Committee, is showing too great a willingness to yield to the interests of the police, and in some cases too little thought for the interests of the ratepayers. Under the Scotch Bill, if a man retires at 25 years he will get, not two-thirds, but under one-half, 28–60ths, and he will not obtain two-thirds until he has actually served 34 years. Just think of the contrast between a policeman in Glasgow or Aberdeen and in London. My hon. and gallant Friend (Sir W. Barttelot) hopes the minimum will be kept up so that the Police Commissioners in the provinces may be enabled to apply a much lower standard for their police. I am afraid very great discontent will arise in these provincial forces, as I am afraid it may arise in the Scotch Forces. Have hon. Members considered what they are doing in giving a two-thirds pension after 25 years' service? Just imagine what would happen if a foreman in a Government establishment, who probably was harder worked than a police officer, could claim a pension of two-thirds of his salary after 25 years' service. Think what you will really do for the Police Force itself. The men of long service are the flower, the very backbone of the Force, and one effect of giving this pension will be that there will be very quick retirement, very quick promotion, and men will retire at the very top of their salaries. For these reasons I regard with dismay the change which the Home Secretary proposes, which, I must own, I regard with great apprehension.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill re-committed in respect of Clause 29 and Schedule 1.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 29.

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

The Amendment I propose affects areas in the county of Lancashire, in which the police are able to get better pensions than those granted under this Bill. Under these circumstances the police claim a little consideration at the hands of the Government. I do not think I could have a stronger argument to urge for this Amendment than that the Police Authority, representing not only the Quarter Sessions but the ratepayers, through the County Council, have unanimously asked for consideration.

Amendment proposed Clause 29, page 18, line 42, after otherwise insert— Provided that, if a constable who has been in the service of a Police Authority not less than 10 years before the passing of this Act accepts its provision, the Police Authority may increase the pension to which he shall be entitled under the provisions of this Act by an annual sum not exceeding the excess over such pension of a pension to which he may become entitled if he declines in writing to accept the provisions of this Act."—(Mr. Leake.)

Question proposed "That these words be there inserted."

*(7.58.) MR. MATTHEWS

I would suggest that the Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. Member for the Stretford Division of Lancashire (Mr. Maclure) would carry out exactly the object the hon. Gentleman has in view, and do it rather more completely and effectually. In the first place it is important that a condition should be that the Police Authority have, under the existing law, been in the habit of granting higher pensions than those which this Bill gives. The hon. Member will observe that such a condition is contained in the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Maclure). The only reason for conceding such a point as this is that there have been reasonable expectations formed of a certain scale of pensions being granted, and that it is really hard to deprive existing constables of this expectation.

(7.59.) MR. LEAKE

I am quite prepared to accept my hon. Friend's Amendment in preference to mine.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 29, page 19, line 29, after"Act"insert— In the case of any existing constable to whom this Act applies, who has served not less than 10 years before the commencement of this Act in a Police Force in which the Police Authority have heretofore, under the provisions of former Acts, granted pensions of higher amount than authorised by the scale adopted by that Police Authority under the provisions of this Act, and who becomes entitled to a pension under this Act, then, notwithstanding anything in this Act, the pension may, if the Police Authority think fit, exceed the amount prescribed in the adopted scale, so as it does not exceed the amount which might have been granted if this Act had not passed."—(Mr. Maclure.)


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how this affects the rate of pensions now granted in such counties as Lancashire, for instance?


In Lancashire pensions are given under the 3rd and 4th Vict., which applies to all county forces. It provides a rough scale of retirement, upon medical certificate, under the age of 60, with, a pension of between two-thirds and one-half pay. I gather that very nearly two-thirds of the pay are allowed after 25 years' service, and strong representations having been made not to disturb existing arrangements, so far as the expectations of the men are concerned, who have been looking forward to their pensions during many years' service, I have assented to the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.

Schedule 1.


The object of the Amendment I have to propose is to make the minimum pension the same as is provided in the Scotch Bill. In other words, I would give a wider option to the Local Authority. The Home Secretary says the Bill gives a certain latitude to the Local Authority —who may fix the scale of their pensions within a certain maximum and minimum, and I propose that the minimum shall be such that the English counties shall not be compelled to give more than the burghs and counties in Scotland can give. 1 in no way affect the discretion of the counties to give more, all I propose is, that the authorities shall have power to adopt the Scotch scale if they see fit.

Amendment proposed in Shedule 1, page 23, line 15, to leave out "two-sixtieths," and insert"one-sixtieth."— (Sir G. Campbell.)

Amendment negatived.

(8.10.) MR. MATTHEWS

In deference to a wish that has been expressed, I propose to change the maximum of the pension from 30–50ths to 31–50ths. Though I myself think it introduces a somewhat lopsided scale, altering the proportion between maximum and minimum thus, yet I believe this is desired, and will meet general acceptance.

Amendment proposed in page 23, line 18, after the second word "thirty," to insert the word"one."—(Mr. Secretary Matthews.)

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


It is well the ratepayers should realise the effect of this. I believe the moment the Bill passes, there will be a large exodus of men from the higher ranks of the Force, and especially in the Metropolitan Force, members of which, having business connections in London, will retire at a comparatively early age, and devote their energies to other pursuits. This will be followed by promotions, and again and again the same thing will take place, until the Service will become emasculated, and the ratepayers will suffer from heavy pension imposts. However, we have made our protest and can do no more. The Home Secretary is the master of many legions, and it is useless to argue.

(8.12.) DR. CLARK

Will the right hon. Gentleman amend the Scotch Schedule in the same fashion, or is this to apply to the English Bill only? If so, will the right hon. Gentleman explain the reasons for making the distinction?


We are not now discussing the Scotch Bill, nor have I charge of it.

*(8.13.) MR. CHILDERS

Is it not desirable to make some modification by which Local Authorities could adopt a scale between the maximum and minimum?

(8.14.) MR. MATTHEWS

In the provincial forces the authorities may draw their scale of pensions anywhere they like between the extremes mentioned in the Bill.

(8.15.) The Committee divided:— Ayes 117; Noes 41.—(Div. List, No. 234.)

Other Amendments made.


I have an Amendment which conies next, which follows the lines of the Scotch Bill. I hope the right hon. Gentleman may see his way to accept it.

Amendment proposed, in Schedule 1, Part 2, page 25, Scale D, line 12, after "shillings," to insert— Or if there be no widow, an annual sum not exceeding five pounds as the police authority may determine."—(Mr. Howard Vincent.)


I cannot accept my hon. Friend's Amendment, nor I confess can I quite follow it—


I do not press it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Other verbal Amendments (Mr. Matthews) agreed to.

Schedule agreed to, as amended.

Bill reported; as amended, considered; read the third time, and passed. (8.35.)