HC Deb 05 August 1890 vol 347 cc1963-89

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(9.2.) MR. HUNTER

I beg to move the omission from the 1st Clause of the words "Not less than 25 years' approved service." Owing to fundamental alterations made in the Bill in Committee, there has been created a carious state of affairs. No man under the age of 60 years can obtain a pension; no man over the age of 30 can join the force, and, therefore, in order to get a pension a man must have at least 30 years' service. I think it would be far better to omit these words.

Amendment proposed, in Clause l, page 1, line 7, to leave out the words "Has completed not less than 25 years' approved service, and."—(Mr. Hunter.)

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


If the hon. Member will look at a later section, he will see that this provision is introduced mainly in the interests of those already in the force.

Question put, and agreed to.

(9.5.) MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

I beg to move the omission of the words "twenty-five," and the substitution therefor of the word "thirty." I do so for this reason: No constable over the age of 25 can be admitted to the Force, and yet his pension will not become payable until he has reached the age of 55, so that between the maximum age of entering and the minimum age of retiring, there is an interval of 30 years. The effect of the pension will be to increase the number of old men in the Force, for those who are drawing towards the pension age will naturally remain in it until the pension is earned. I think it is desirable we should get as many young men in as possible. I think it would be highly inconvenient to establish by Act of Parliament the principle that 25 years' service is sufficient to qualify for a pension, when other provisions in the same Bill make it impossible for anyone to obtain a pension until he has served 30, and perhaps 34 years. To do so would be to create discontent in the Force. I think the words "25 years' approved service" should be withdrawn. The insertion of the words "thirty years" could not possibly be prejudicial to the men, and such an alteration would probably induce men about 21 years of age to enter the Force. It would also prove more satisfactory to the working classes who are opposed to pensions of this kind, if we insist that a pension shall only become payable after 30 years' service. In the Civil Service it is necessary for a man to serve more than 25 or 30 years in order to entitle him to a pension.

Amendment proposed in Clause 1, page 1, line 9, to leave out"25"and insert"30."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

Question proposed, "That '25' stand part of the Clause."

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

This question had been discussed by the hon. Member with great moderation, and I intend to follow the same course. When the scheme of superannuation is matured, the result will be that no policeman will come in after 25 years of age, and no policeman will go out with a pension till he is 55, so that we shall have 30 years' service. This is one of the first of the Amendments which touch upon the whole scale and rate of figures in the Bill. In the Select Committee certain modifications were moved on these figures, and all in the direction of a more economical system of pensions. I do not profess to be in complete personal agreement with all that has been done, but I am quite prepared to stand by what has been agreed upon by the Select Committee. The Bill had been very carefully considered. An admirable temper prevailed in the Committee, and we had the advantage of the presence of some Members specially conversant with the subject. Under these circumstances I am quite prepared to adopt the recommendations of the Committee, except on one point, which does not involve a serious amount of dissension.


I am very glad to hear this announcement by the Lord Advocate, and I am sure it will very much facilitate business. The Scotch Committee have made the Bill as tolerable as possible, and we might go farther and fare worse. If the Government will accept the recommendations of the Scotch Committee, and not act as they did in the case of the English Bill, I shall be satisfied, although the majority of the members of that Committee are Conservatives, they showed some independence and——


Order, order. The hon. Member is not speaking to the Amendment.

(9.17.) MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)

My hon. Friend has anticipated what I intended to say. I do think, as he had so much to talk about on the English Bill, he might have allowed us a little opportunity on this Bill. It did strike me that the effect of the clause as it now stands might prevent men joining the force until they were nearly 25 years of age, and I am anxious to get them in at a lower age. Still, after the announcement of the Lord Advocate, I hope the Scotch Members generally will accept the Bill without further discussion.

Question put, and agreed to.

(9.20.) MR. CALDWELL

Inline 11, of page 1, I wish to insert the word "five" after "sixty." This refers to the age at which the constables of the higher rank become entitled to a pension. Very often they are as fit for duty at 65 as at any period of their life, and therefore I do not think it unreasonable to fix the limit at 65.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 1, page 1, line 11, after "sixty" to insert"five."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

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

*(9.21.) MR. CHILDERS

I hope my hon. Friend will not persist in this Amendment. Unfortunately, experience does not entirely bear out his suggestion as to their bodily strength at 65, and it is not desirable to retain men in the force at too advanced an age.

Question put, and negatived.

(9.22.) MR. CALDWELL

I now propose to move the omission of subsection (b.)

Amendment proposed in Clause 1, page 1, line 16, to leave out subsection (b).

Question, "That Sub-section (b) stand part of the Clause," put and agreed to.


There is an Amendment standing in my name, reducing from 20 to 15 years the period at which, if incapacitated, a constable shall be entitled, upon medical certificate, to retire and receive a pension, but after the intimation of the Lord Advocate, I am afraid it will be quite useless for me to press this and other Amendments I have put upon the Paper. I ought, perhaps, to apologise for having put down so many Amendments to a Scottish Bill, but so many of the Scottish Members were on the Select Committee that very few were left to place Amendments on the Paper contrary to the conclusions of the Committee. I have received letters from a large number of police officers in Scotland, calling attention to the very serious injury which may result from the difference between the conditions of superannuation in Scotland and in England, I do not intend to trouble the House by reading them. But I may point out that even now there is a considerable migration from the Scotch Police to the English Police, and the Government proposals will not tend to stop it. I will ask the Lord Advocate whether he cannot see his way, in any degree, to accept some of my Amendments, with the view of assimilating the superannuation in the two countries. I will simply formally move the first of my Amendments.

Amendment proposed in Clause 1, page 1, line 21, to leave out twenty and insert 15.

Question proposed, "That the word 'twenty' stand part of the Clause."

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

I think my hon. Friend has taken a course which is most judicious and sensible in the Parliamentary situation in which he finds this Bill. My hon. Friend has stoutly maintained, both here and elsewhere, that the figures he proposed were really the proper and just figures in relation to the police, but I am bound to tell him that I view the matter rather from the general aspect in which it presents itself. We have already discussed the subject in Committee in a very fair and practical way. The Committee was fairly representative of all Scottish interests, and the conclusions they arrived at are embodied in the Bill as it now stands. I am not prepared now to go back on them. On the contrary, as I gather from the opinion of my hon. Friends, as well as that of hon. Gentlemen opposite, they are a fair and reasonable reward for the police. I concur in that opinion, and as regards the practical details, there is only one point upon which I shall ask the Committee to go back, and that is the question of 2½ instead of 7½ per cent. as the deduction in the case of superior officers.

(9.26.) MR. HUNTER

I also have an Amendment to increase the period to 25 years, but as I find on examination that, so far as the Pension Fund is concerned, there is extremely little difference between the limits of 20 and 25, I shall not move that Amendment. There can be no doubt that the weak point in this usuperannuation scheme is the medical certificate. If you give men a right to retire at a certain age, by some my sterous process, they can always get the necessary medical certificate. There is no doubt when a policeman reaches the retiring age, he will suddenly find that his constitution is not sufficiently strong for his work. If he retires just before he has completed 20 years' service he gets a gratuity of about £116, whereas the pension he is entitled to at the end of the 20 years is worth over£400, so of, course, he will strive hard to serve the full period.

Question put, and agreed to.

(9.29.) DR. CLARK

I think some reason should be given for the difference which is made by these Bills in the position of the Scottish constable as compared with the English constable. The work which the Scottish policeman has to perform in Glasgow, for instance, is far harder than in London. The Scottish criminal is of a worse type than the English criminal. He is, generally speaking, stronger physically, and defends himself more. The constables are in consequence assaulted more frequently, and have harder work altogether. Yet the English policeman is to be entitled to a pension at 46 years of age, while the Scottish policeman requires to be 55. As this might touch the rates, I shall not support the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Howard Vincent) in any of his Amendments. We must permit the Government to have for the same description of officials one class of legislation in England and another in Scotland, and repeat the old story of having privileges given to England and Ireland—those in the case of Ireland being of a special character—whilst Scotland is left alone.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to, with Amendments.

Clause 4.


I move the second Amendment standing in my name.

Amendment moved, Clause 4, page 3, line 34, at end, add But not less than 15 years' continuous approved service shall be in the force from which any pension is claimed."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

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


I cannot accept the Amendment.

Question put, and negatived.

Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7 agreed to.

Clause 8.

(9.35.) MR. HUNTER

I move to leave out sub-section "c." This Amendment raises rather an interesting question as to the status of the police after they have obtained their pensions. Before the Select Committee a proposal was made by the hon. Member for Dundee practically to retain the pensioned men as a kind of reserve police, available for duty on Sundays and on special occasions. That proposal was negatived, and the question that now arises is whether, when a policeman has completed his time and obtained his pension, he should not be made a free and independent man. The sub-section provides that the pension shall be forfeited if the grantee refuses to give to the police all the information and assistance in his power for the detection of crime, apprehension of criminals, and suppression of disturbance of the public peace. The object of the clause is to retain the service of the pensioned police as auxiliaries. I do not entertain any strong objection to that, but I object to imposing such a penalty as the forfeiture of pension. I attach enormous importance to the security of the pensions, and one of the points in the Bill of which I most approve is that which makes pensions a matter of right, and makes them a matter of property rather than of grace or favour to be continued or discontinued according to the goodwill of the Local Authority for the time being. It strikes me that in London this subsection might operate very harshly and injuriously. Suppose, for example, a policeman who has served in the Police Force of Glasgow receives a pension and retires to his old home in the highlands, and supposing there occurs one of those disturbances which call for the intervention of the police, if the pensioned policeman does not do his utmost to suppress the disturbance under this sub-section, the Glasgow Authority may stop his pension. Surely such a pensioner would be placed in a very awkward and invidious position. In the first place he will have arrived at an age when it is supposed he is no longer fit for active service, and in the next place he is called upon to act in his own highland home amongst his friends. He is put in this dilemma, that he must either sacrifice the pension he has earned by long years of service or he must raise his hand as a volunteer auxiliary to assault and injure, perhaps his father or brother, or other near relative. It seems to me that under this Bill cases of very great hardship must arise between divided duty on the part of the pensioned constable, and I would ask the Government whether it is worth their while to retain a clause of this sort. It can be of extremely small utility to the Police Force, because the supposition is that these men are all incapable of acting as policemen. It may be said that in such a case as that I have referred to it would not be compulsory on the Authority in Glasgow to take away the man's pension, but the dread that it may be taken away, and the uncertainty of the position, are evils of the highest magnitude, not to be incurred without some adequate or sufficient reason of public utility. No such reason is forthcoming, and it seems to me that while on the one hand we ought, as I think the Committee upstairs did, carefully scrutinise the Bill to prevent charges being put on the ratepayers, on the other hand, we should give the policemen every conceivable security which is not inconsistent with the principles of economy. Financially, I think the clause is worth nothing, as no pension fund would be affected by its loss, and even at the tenth hour I would still appeal to the Committee to strike the clause out of the Bill, and to give to the pensioners that feeling of security which is worth more than money itself.

Amendment moved, in Clause 8, page 7, line 16, to leave out Sub-section (c.)."—(Mr. Hunter.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (c) stand part of the Clause."


I must say that in all the discussions that took place on the English Bill, I thought that on the subsection dealing with the future employment of ex-policemen, the most difficult one for Members to make up their minds upon, looking at the important and conflicting arguments we heard. There is on the one side the danger that a very serious political power may be given over to a retired policeman, owing to these words, "the suppression of any disturbance of the public peace," but on the other hand, there is the serious consideration that in London you are making a reserve force of several thousand men—almost young men of between 41 and 50 years of age. Those of us who thought that the London police were over well treated in this respect were not very unwilling that these men—who are like officers on half-pay—should be called on to act in case of a disturbance, seeing that they will be as efficient as the ordinary police. But that consideration does not apply in the case of Scotland, where the men will be broken down in the knees and over 55 years of age, and very little use in a serious disturbance. The consideration, however, felt in England as to the danger to a retired policeman who might sympathise with some strong political or social movement applies equally to Scotland, particularly highlands. I shall be very glad if the Government will agree to omit the part of the sub-clause which deals with the suppression of disturbances of the public peace. I should certainly be very unwilling to vote for the omission of the previous lines, for I think that however a pensioned policeman is, he is bound as an ex-public servant to do all he can for the detection of crime and the apprehension of criminals.


This is one of the points on which I hope the Government will give way. I have been very much opposed to anything like making the Bill uniform with the English, measure, because I have felt that if, as some of my hon. Friends think should be the case, the Bill is levelled up to the English measure, it may be necessary also to level it down to that measure. I hope the Lord Advocate will not find himself bound by anything in the English Bill, and, as to this sub section, having had as wide an experience as most hon. Members of the police in Scotland, I believe that it will be of no practical value whatever. I think it will be open to grave abuse, and will cause great irritation, and I therefore trust it will be omitted.

(9.47.) MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)

I am unwilling to support any material alteration to the Bill as it stands, because in the Select Committee we gave the best consideration we could to it, and because, in spite of the reproaches sometimes uttered against Scotch Members, as to the time we take in discussing Bills, we bid fair to-night to despatch our business with more expedition than our English brethren have done. But I would venture to repeat a suggestion to the Government in regard to this sub-section which was made by the hon. Member for Aberdeen. I think it will be agreed that there is a great deal of force in the argument that a pensioned policeman should not be called upon to do police duty in a place where he had never served as a policeman. It would be clearly unfair that a constable enjoying a pension should be expected to act as a sort of spy over the Police Authorities in a different part of the country to that in which he had earned his pension. What I would suggest is that in addition to the omission of the words objected to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division these words should be added— If the grantee refuses to give to the police all the information and assistance in his power within the police area of the force in which he has last served.

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

The Committee considered the clause as a whole, and I think we were fairly unanimous in the solution we found for the difficulties we had to encounter. The subject was discussed in a very temperate and fair manner. In whose interests are these restrictions made? In the interests of the ratepayers. It is not likely that, say a Town Councillor of Glasgow, would strain a point against a man who had served for a long time in the police force and had had a pension awarded to him. I cannot imagine that anything but a liberal view would be taken of the clause. I shall, therefore, oppose any limitation of the kind suggested.

(9.53.) MR. HUNTER

It has been suggested by my right hon. Friend (Sir G. Trevelyan) that instead of attacking the whole clause I should limit the Amendment to the words, "for the suppression of any disturbance of the public peace." I accept that suggestion, and I would ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

(9.56.) DR. CLARK

I am against the principle of this clause, because I think that if a man has served till he is 58 or 60 years of age, and during the time of his service a certain proportion of his salary has been deducted he has an absolute right to his pension, and you ought not to impose these conditions any more than you ought in the case of an ex-Cabinet Minister, or an officer of the Army or Navy, or a Judge. I do not see why my hon. and learned Friend should withdraw any portion of his Amendment. We know that in the highlands, for instance, the Police Authority is not elected by the people, but to the extent of one-half consists of gentlemen who sit by right of property. There may be disturbances in the future as there have been in the past, and we know that the police sympathise with the people in their grievances. The complaint has been generally that whilst the local police sympathise with and assist the people, foreign police are sent in who adopt a very different attitude. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will meet us a little on this point, and we will assist him with the Bill as far as we possibly can.

(9.58.) MR. A. SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)

I think a policeman has an absolute right to his pension after he has served for the allotted time. On this ground I object to the sub-section, and I also object to it because it will, if carried, produce a set of informers all over the country. I think it unfair to place a retired policeman in the position of an informer. The right hon. Gentleman says the Police Authorities of Glasgow would not strain this power against the police. That seems to me to be the strongest argument against the clause, because if it is to be of no effect it ought not to be in the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

(9.59.) MR. HUNTER

I now beg to move the insertion of "and" after the word "crime," so as to enable me to propose the Amendment in its modified form.

Amendment proposed in page 7, line 17, after the word "crime," to insert the word "and."—(Mr. Hunter.)

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


Might I ask whether, on this point, the Government will give way to us? I think it will very much facilitate business if they do.

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

This must be considered with regard to Scotland as a whole, and I think it is not unreasonable to exact that a retired policeman should not refuse to give any assistance he can to the police. I hope the House will not give effect to the notion that there is not likely to be fair play. I do not think there is any reason for striking out the words. All we want to prevent is the suggestion that the ratepayers or taxpayers are supporting a man who is really, by his conduct, adding to their burdens.

(10.4.) MR. FINLAY (Inverness, &c.)

I do not look on these words as imposing on the police any special duty. I regard it as the duty of every citizen to give to the police all the assistance in his power. The neglect of that duty on the part of a retired policeman would not, I think, be improperly punished by the withdrawal of his pension.

(10.5.) MR. D. CRAWFORD

I hope my hon. Friend will not think it necessary to divide on his Amendment.


I hope the Government will give way on the point. My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) has pointed out most distinctly that an obligation lies on the retired policeman as on other citizens to do his duty. What is suggested by this sub-section is that a retired policeman should keep himself in reserve, so that if there are any particular duties to do, he may be called away from his ordinary employment to do them. For instance, a man might be sent to Fraserburgh or Netherhead during the fishing season to assist in keeping the public peace.

*(10.6.) MR. CHILDERS

I have followed very carefully this Debate on what is a purely practical question. I put it to myself as an English Magistrate—supposing in the district where I live, there were a number of old policemen from 55 to 70 years of age living on their pensions, and it were necessary to take steps to suppress a disturbance of the public peace, should one naturally call upon the retired policemen? I think not. I think, however, we should require them to give all the assistance they could in the detection of crime, but not expect of them the physical burden of putting down disturbers of the peace who might be 30 years their juniors.


Considering the way we have met the Government they might very well give way to the feeling of the Scotch Members on this small point. When you come to the question of the disturbance of the public peace you touch political questions. The clause may be applied in election time, or in the case of Crofter disturbances.

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

The Government would be exceedingly glad to meet the wishes of the Scotch Members in the matter if it were possible to do so, but I am bound to point out that a similar provision has already been passed in the English Bill, and that to strike it out of this Bill would be to make a difference between England and Scotland, which is not desirable. I cannot think that any injury will result from the retention of the provisions. It will be in the power of the Police Authority to deal with each case that arose, and I do not believe that any injustice will under any circumstances be done by retaining the provision as it stands.

MR. J. B. BALFOUR (Clackmannan, &c.)

There are a great many differences between the Scotch and English Bills. There are differences, for instance, both in regard to age and scale of pensions. The similarity between the two Bills in this respect cannot, therefore, be cited against the Scotch Members.

MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

I must say the reason the right hon. Gentleman gives for refusing the request of the Scotch Members is a very bad one. The very fact that this Bill is different in principle to the English Bill is surely a reason for making a difference in a matter of detail.

* MR. HOZIER (Lanarkshire, S.)

This clause was carried by probably the largest majority obtained in the Committee, and the matter was thoroughly threshed out. There is no one who wishes to be fairer to the policemen than myself, but on the whole I think this clause is extremely fair.


My opposition is to the principle of the Bill, and, therefore, I have not interfered with the details. I only rise now to remind the First Lord of the Treasury how the subsequent events have justified the Motion he made that both of these Bills should be referred to the same Committee. The First Lord of the Treasury has now excused himself from meeting the wishes of the Scotch Members on this small point by alleging that the English Bill contains a similar provision. The English Bill cannot be altered, and that fact is put forward as a justification for refusing to yield to our request.


Let me very respectfully suggest to the First Lord of the Treasury that it is just because this Bill very materially differs from the English Bill that he is going to get it through so amicably. Under these circumstances I think he might give way.

(10.14.) MR. HUNTER

There is one complete answer to the First Lord of the Treasury, and that is: that, under the Scotch Bill, the men will not be superannuated until they are 55. Under the English Bill the men may be superannuated eight years earlier. The hon. Member for Lanarkshire (Mr. Hozier) is quite in error as to the views of the Committee on this point. It is true the clause, as a whole, was carried by a majority of 12 to 4, but this particular point was never submitted to the Committee at all. The First Lord of the Treasury cannot see the possibility of any person suffering any injury. That is quite right, speaking as an Englishman from an English point of view; but he has no idea of the depth of bitterness of the Scotch Tory. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that it is not only possible, but probable, that injury will be done. With regard to suppression of crime I give way, but the disturbance of the peace is a totally different matter. It is likely that this clause will be utilised for the purpose of trying to deprive men who have served their time of their pension. That is quite within the limits of experience, and it is important we should give to the Highlanders the security that such a thing cannot happen. I hope that, even at the last moment, the Government will give way.

(10.18.) The Committee divided:— Ayes 75; Noes 127.—(Div. List, No. 235.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 8, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

(10.25.) DR. CLARK

I very much regret the Government have not seen fit to give way to the Scotch Members on this point, and, as a means of expressing our dissatisfaction, we must oppose the clause altogether. Personally, I consider the clause totally unnecessary. I shall vote against the Third Reading, but I hold that if you give police constables a pension you ought not to take it away for any other reason than you take away pensions from anyone who has served in the Army, Navy, and Civil Service.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 41, to leave out all after "shall" to end of Clause, and insert— Prejudice the existing right of any police authority to dismiss any constable, or to reduce him to any lower rank or lower rate of pay, or shall prevent his claim to pension from being refused on account of misconduct or of negligence in the discharge of his duties or on account of any of the grounds on which his pension, if granted, would he liable to he forfeited and withdrawn."— (The Lord Advocate.)

(10.34.) MR. HUNTER

I do not rise to object to these words, but to remark, this Amendment was proposed in the Select Committee, and was then defeated by a narrow majority, by the casting vote of the Lord Advocate himself. He now makes the proposal himself, and I hope he will take no exception to the renewal of other proposals where decisions were carried in Committee by the casting vote of the Chairman. When we come to a later Amendment, I shall invoke the precedent the right hon. Gentleman is now setting.

(10.35.) MR. J. P. B. BOBERTSON

This is singularly ungracious. It is true that decisions were arrived at in Committee by narrow majorities, and in several instances I was called upon to give a casting vote. But I have cheerfully given way where I thought I could do so in the public interest, and to meet any generally expressed view. I shall make no complaint of any such citation of my action.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11.

(10.36) DR. CLARK

Does the expression "Sheriff" include the Sheriff Substitute? It is not included in the definition clause.

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

According to my recollection of the Bill of last year, the expression does include the Sheriff Substitute.

(10.37.) SIR G. CAMPBELL

But I think that is undesirable. The Sheriff is a great officer, and though I do not say a word to derogate from the dignity of the Sheriff Substitute, he does not occupy that high position an official should have if he is to over-rule the Local Authorities in a great burgh. I think this function should be confined to the Sheriff.

(10.38.) MR. ESSLEMONT

I entirely disagree with my hon. Friend. The Sheriff Substitute is present in the district, and we look to him in all practical business of this kind, but the Sheriff is sometimes a political opponent with whom we have differences of opinion. I am sure Scottish feeling will be in favour of including the Sheriff Substitute.

(10.38.) DR. CLARK

I am strongly desirous that the phrase should include the Sheriff Substitute, and if there is any doubt on this point, I would suggest an addition here or in the definition clause. The working Judge is the Sheriff Substitute, the Sheriff is but an ornamental official, and his appointment often but a political job.

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

I find I am quite right in my interpretation; the expression "Sheriff" includes Sheriff Substitute.

Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to.

Clause 13.

(10.39.) MR. CALDWELL

The Amendment I have to propose is with the object of providing that no constable in receipt of a pension shall be appointed to an office, the remuneration for which is provided by moneys voted by Parliament or raised by the rates. It is quite conceivable that a policeman might, after receiving a pension, be appointed to an office paid for out of the rates, and thus receive better payment than he actually received when a younger man in full active employment in the force.

Amendment proposed in page 8, line 32, to leave out "If a," and insert"No."—{Mr. Caldwell.)

Question proposed, "that the words 'If a' stand part of the Clause."

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

I think the restriction in the Bill represents the general view of the Committee.

Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and question proposed "That Clause 13 stand part of the Bill."


I took the opinion of the House on an Amendment to omit a similar clause in the English Bill, and the English Bill is much better than the Scotch Bill in many respects. Possibly Scotch Members may be willing to accept the exclusion of this clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15.

(10.42.) MR. J. P. SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

In view of the intention of the Government to accept the Amendment standing next to mine for deleting the sub-section, for the insertion of which I and others voted under a misapprehension, I do not propose to move my Amendment standing next.

(10.42.) MR. HUNTER

If the hon. Member will not move his Amendment I will move it for him. What I wish to bring about is this, and if the Amendment of the hon. Member opposite accomplishes the end I have, I need not move. In Committee it was agreed that the deductions from the officers should be 7½ per cent. If the proposition had been 5 per cent., I should have voted for it, for that, I think, is the proper sum to be deducted. Then an Amendment was proposed by the hon. Member for Lanark, that an officer should not suffer any deduction beyond 2½ per cent., a proposal I am bound to say, I could not agree with. Nearly the whole of the Committee agreed that there should be a substantial distinction between the contributions of the officers of the constables and sergeants. The argument used to induce us to give pensions to constables and sergeants has no application to officers.


May I ask to what Amendment the hon. Member is speaking?


I understand the hon. Member proposes to move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Partick Division.


I do not think he is speaking to it.


I was mistaken as to the particular Amendment.

*(10.43.) MR. HOZIER

I beg to move my Amendment. The increase of pay when a member of the force is promoted from the rank of sergeant to inspector is so slight——


On a point of order, Sir, I wish to move and omit the words "seven and a half," and insert "five." Shall I be precluded from doing that by the result of the Amendment the hon. Member is about to move?


I will put the Amendment in such a form that the hon. Member's right will remain.


The intention of my Amendment simply is that officers of superior rank shall not be called upon to contribute 7½percent., but only 2½ per cent. like the rest of the force. I think, as a matter of fact, there was a general agreement upon this in Committee. The figures gave a majority of two for the Amendment, which was carried, but, certainly, two hon. Members voted under a misapprehension. I hope the Committee will agree to the deletion of the sub-section.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 9, to leave out the words "every officer above the rank of sergeant liable at the rate of."—(Mr. Hozier.)

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

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

I think the decision of the Committee is one that cannot be maintained, and if it it were necessary to dwell upon that, I could give some figures that would be absolutely convincing. At the same time, I desired to ascertain, as far as I could, the prevalent opinion among Scotch Members, and, so far as I am able to gather, no one is in favour of 7½ per cent., and I think that figure is untenable. In point of fact, it would reduce the pay of an inspector of the lowest rank below that of a sergeant of a highest rank for a period of five years. The pay of an inspector of the second rank being £90 reduced by 7½ per cent. will be £83 5s., while that of a sergeant of the highest rank reduced by 2½ per cent. will be net £83 9s. Such a statement is quite enough to blow 7½ per cent. out of the water. The preponderating opinion is, I think, in favour of 5 per cent., but I think it would be well for the Committee to avoid a distinction which involves no advantage from a financial point of view, and may result in an irritating effect upon the Service. I hope the Committee will agree to the general reduction all round being 2½ per cent.


So far as I am able to ascertain, I think the general feeling is in favour of 5 per cent., and I should be quite willing to concede that. I think most of us in the Select Committee were under the impression that salaries rise more rapidly in the higher grades than they actually do. But, at the same time, I feel strongly that, even in the case of constables, 2½ per cent, is a very small contribution indeed towards earning a pension, and financial authorities have remarked upon this. I think that in the higher salaries, it is reasonable to fix the contributions at 5 per cent. I think we ought to look at the financial side of the question, although the Lord Advocate seems to think that is unnecessary. The scheme is really a different scheme to that presented to us on the Second Reading of the Bill.


I did not say it was unnecessary to look at the financial side of the question, all I said was that the difference was so small that it could not be said to have any bearing on the actuarial calculation.


I am not quite sure that it requires to be made out by figures, but we are not entitled to disregard any part of the financial position, having in view the position at the end of 30 years, and the probable increase of the Force with the increase of population. I do not think we are entitled to throw away any just source of income, and I think in these cases 5 per cent. is not an unreasonable contribution.


The actuarial calculations put before us in Committee were based on the distinct understanding that no one paid more than 2½ per cent.

(10.47.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

I hold that the view taken in Committee had no reference to actuarial calculations at all; it turned upon matters of equity and fair play as between various members of the Force. It was represented that the men who retired on high pensions, the men in the higher branches of the Service, would be contributing a very much smaller proportion towards their pensions than the less fortunate individuals who had never emerged from the lower ranks. I have not the figures now, but they show a startling disproportion against the poorer men, and in favour of those who, after promotion, retire on the higher pensions, having contributed on the lower scale during nearly the whole of their terms of service.

(10.48.) MR. ESSLEMONT

I am not quite sure whether my hon. Friend has considered that these superior officers above the rank of sergeant will contribute to the age of 60, and others only to 55. I am bound to say I think it is rather hard that a fine should be put upon the men who rise. Is it not sufficient that they have to serve another five years? I think the 2½ per cent. might be maintained. I confess I have sympathy with the idea of charging more when a man gets to the higher rate of pay, but here it must be pointed out that our pay is not uniform, and some men who have not risen above the rank of sergeant will get as high pay as Inspectors in some instances. It is less a matter of pay than of grade and merit. I think 2½ per cent. might be adopted, and that it is scarcely worth while contesting the point.

(10.49.) MR. HUNTER

I base my consideration of the point upon the question of justice and fair play between the officers and the men, and between the police and the public at large. If this were a fund upon which pensions were to depend, and these were to be measured by the amount of contributions, it is obvious that proportionately much higher contributions would be required from the officers than from the men. But the Government are granting £40,000 a year, and the contributions of the men are but a fifth or sixth of the amount they will receive. It may fairly be contended that the Government should not make a proportionately larger contribution towards the pensions of the officers than the pensions of the men. There are these considerations also, that the wear and tear and exhaustion by exposure to all weathers is greater among the men than among the officers; also that the wages paid the men are not sufficient to enable them to make any provision for old age, but that is not so with the officers, whose pay exceeds the income of many men of middle class. There is certainly no argument ad inisericordiam for the officers. It is fair they should contribute a larger sum than the men, and my opinion is, that if the proceedings in Committee had been conducted with more deliberation, 5 per cent. would have been inserted. With regard to what the hon. Member for Lanark has said as to two Members of the Committee having changed their opinions, I do not think we can take account of that, because if they are here, they can explain their position, and if they are absent, it is not well that their views should be represented by proxy. It is within the power of the Government, of course, to upset the decision of the Select Committee, but I think it would more conduce to progress and the harmony of our proceedings if they accepted the compromise of 5 per cent.

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

Throughout the proceedings before the Committee I stated, as I did also in private communications to Members, that I should ask the House upon this point to go back upon the finding of the Committee.

(10.52.) MR. J. P. SMITH

I may explain that in Committee figures were put before us which seemed to show that the pay of the inspector was three times that of the ordinary constable, £100 to £33, and upon that it was estimated the contribution of the inspector should be three times that of the constable. But on further examination of the figures, it appeared that the difference in pay was as 10 to eight, or £100 a year to 33s. a week. The fact is, the rise in pay is extremely gradual in the grades of the Scotch Police Force, and this sudden increase in contribution would reverse the positions as regards pay in some instances.


I may point out that this provision will work very unequally. In some counties the inspector gets only 28s. per week, and you will deduct 5 per cent. of his pay, while the constable, who in another town gets 30s. a week, will pay only 2½ per cent.

Amendment put, and negatived.

Clause 15, agreed to.

Clause 16.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 16, page 9, line 25, to leave out "stoppages and."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

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

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

I think this matter was sufficiently discussed in Committee, and the clause as now framed is a fair compromise. It met with general approval in the Committee, and I hope it will not again be discussed here. The Scotch Authorities are well treated under this Bill. Glasgow, for instance, will be a great gainer by the arrangement now proposed, for its rates will be relieved of a charge of something like £1,200 a year for pensions. I do trust this Committee will accede to what, after all, is a settlement of matters of detail, and not engage in a mighty amount of discussion about a very small affair.

(11.6.) DR. CLARK

It seems to me that Clauses 16 and 19 are closely allied to each other, but the Debate will take place on the latter. If you pass it, you will make the police rate liable for any deficiency. This scheme will entail a lot of intricate book-keeping, but I think we had better give a trial to the arrangement proposed.

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

We went carefully into this matter in Committee, and I must say that this suggestion did not meet with any support.


I may explain that there were originally sub-sections giving the police an interest in certain convictions. I thought that a vicious principle and one altogether undesirable to be introduced into the Bill. I can see no objection to these small contributions going into the Police Fund, which, I think is their proper destination; and I hope the compromise, which I think was a fair one, will be accepted by the Committee.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 16 agreed to.

Clause 17.

(11.9.) MR. CALDWELL

In this clause I desire to substitute in line 2, page 11, the words "two months" for "thirty days." My reason is that the County Council Authorities in Scotland do not, in consequence of the great distance, find London easily accessible, and, in the event of this scheme for the distribution of the grant not proving acceptable to them, 30 days would scarcely be sufficient to enable them to make the necessary representations against it.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 7, page 11, line 2, to leave out, "thirty days," and insert "two months."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

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

(11.10.) DR. CLARK

This may seem a trifling matter, but it is very important—Scotch County Councils should have an opportunity of considering the scheme.

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

The subject of regulations providing for these and other schemes is a somewhat complicated one, and is governed by such a consideration, among others, as the period at which Parliament sits. In order to preserve uniformity of system the period of 30 days was introduced, but, personally, I have no strong feeling on the subject.

(11.12.) MR. BUCHANAN

I think it is very desirable the period should be extended in view of the fact that there is sometimes a fortnight's vacation at Whitsuntide or Easter.


Very well, for the present I will accept the term of two months, on the understanding that if I find, on inquiry, it is inconvenient, we shall revert to the former proposal.

Question put, and negatived.

Clause 17, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 18 agreed to.

Clause 19.

(11.15.) MR. J. P. SMITH

I think that if the Amendment I have to move on this clause is carried, it will remove the only possible ground of attack against the Bill. I believe that under the scheme, there will be no liability on the Police Fund for many years, but, if it should arise, it ought to be removed, and the acceptance of this Amendment will get rid of any difficulty which may be felt in regard to it.

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 29, "to leave out Sub-section (1)."— (Mr. Parker Smith.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (1) stand part of the Clause."

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

I agree with my hon. Friend opposite that what took place in the Select Committee has practically established what I ventured to assure the House on the Second Reading—namely, that there will be no burden cast on the rates in the ordinary case until a period which may be roughly represented as about 30 years. I believe hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sat on the Committee were on the whole satisfied that that is the case. At the same time, one has to deal with a problem which is not a matter of absolute certainty. We have to take into account the fact that the actuarial calculations upon which we all relied, are liable to the fluctuations and incidents of the number of funds which have to be dealt with. I am aware that some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen think that those difficulties might have been avoided if we had a central fund. It is conceivable that even the best actuarial calculation may prove to be fallacious. I put it to the Committee whether it is wise to infuse any doubt as to the sufficiency of the rights conferred on the constables. I do not think it would be a satisfactory or business-like way of dealing with a case of this kind, if we were to set up a fund, and say that that is all we have to go upon, and that nobody shall be liable beyond it. I hope the Committee will not look upon this question as one of more than theoretical interest. I am satisfied that Members of the Select Committee and Members of the House are convinced that to throw the ulimate liability on the rates is not to indicate the slightest doubt as to the solid ground we are upon.

*(11.18.) MR. CHILDERS

On the whole, although not without doubt, I think it would be well to adopt the Motion of my hon. Friend. In point of fact, the Police Fund, as a whole, will always be solvent, and this Mr. Finlaison fully admitted, especially after the changes made in the Schedule. It is therefore useless to give it an additional security, which would be misunderstood, and may have the effect of interfering with strict economical management. I hope the Government will yield this point to the general feeling of Scotch Members.

(11.22.) MR. ESSLEMONT

I think it would be in the interest of those who will receive the benefit that an assurance should be given to the constituencies in Scotland that there will be no local rate for this purpose. This is a most important clause. On the general principle of the Bill I have hitherto supported the Government, but I have always con- tended that, before imposing any burden on the rates, the ratepayers ought to be consulted. The sum offered by the Government for the superannuation of the police should be devoted to that purpose, bat we ought not to impart any degree of uncertainty into the matter. The people of Scotland should understand that the Government cannot deprive them of this source of revenue, without providing another source. The Lord Advocate has assured us that there is no fear of losing the source from which the money is supplied, and the right hon. Gentleman, one of the Members for Edinburgh, has intimated that, with economical management, the fund will suffice. With such opinions in his favour, I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Partick will press his Amendment. I hope the Government will see that there is no danger in giving way on this point, and that they will accept the Amendment.

*(11.25.) MR. HOZIER

The hon. Member seems very tender hearted towards the ratepayers on a theoretical point, but he nevertheless allowed himself to be led on another occasion by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs, who speaks about "the naked brutality of the relief of the rates."

(11.26.) MR. HUNTER

In the Committee the retention of the clause was decided by the casting vote of the Lord Advocate. I certainly object to throwing the ultimate liability on the ratepayers. There will be constant pressure put upon the Local Authorities to make the conditions of pensions less hard, and if they have the fathomless depths of the ratepayers' pockets behind them, the Local Authorities may be tempted to yield to that pressure. Besides, it should be remembered that these authorities are often very much under the control of the head police officers. It was proved before the Committee that it was almost impossible that the sum of £40,000 to be granted by the Government will be exceeded, and that constitutes another reason why they should accept this Amendment. If the Government had only contributed to the Pension Fund in the same proportion as the most liberal railway companies contribute to their employés' funds, the grant would not have exceeded £20,000 annually, whereas it is to be double that amount; therefore they are treating the police most liberally in this matter. The difficulty of those of us who have been supporting the Government in that matter is that, if this Amendment is not accepted, we shall be unable to justify these proposals to our constituents, who will see that the police are being dealt with with enormous liberality, and who will not be satisfied unless they are assured that not a single penny of the charge will fall on the rates. I hope the Government will not persist in the course they have adopted, but will allow the Amendment to be adopted.

(11.30.) The Committee divided:— Ayes 136; Noes 77.—(Div. List, No. 236.)

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 20 and 21 agreed to.

Clause 23.

(11.40.) MR. HUNTER

I beg to move an Amendment to this clause. Clause 23, page 14, line 12, leave out the words "or part." The object of this Amendment is to prevent the Local Authority from returning to the constables some indefinite and undetermined portion of their contributions. I cannot see the necessity for introducing such an element of doubt and ambiguity. I hope, therefore, my Amendment will be accepted.


This question is one that was very fully discussed on a former occasion, and, for my own part, I should be disposed to give the Local Authorities a certain amount of latitude in this matter.

MR. BARCLAY (Forfar)

I think that, seeing how vague and ambiguous is the proposal as it stands in this Bill, the Government might consent to the omission of these words.

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

As has just been stated, this matter has already been carefully considered by the Committee, and I may remind hon. Members that as the Bill originally stood, it merely enabled the Local Authority to return these contributions by using the word "may," but the Committee still further strengthened the clause by inserting the word "shall," so as to enforce the provision. It was thought that having in that way strengthened the right of the constable the object of this part of the clause was sufficiently guarded.

Motion made, and Question, "That the words 'or part' stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.

Other Amendments made.

Bill reported.

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

Perhaps the House will agree to take the Report now.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this Bill be now considered."— (The Lord Advocate.)


One or two of us who did not press our Amendments in Committee have a few words to say on the Third Reading, and we object to the Third Reading being taken now.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill reported; as amended, considered; to be read the third time to-morrow.