HC Deb 17 June 1890 vol 345 cc1130-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Chief Commissioner of Metropolitan Police submitted an estimate of £138 for gratuities to the police who performed extra duty, and the Secretary of State granted £100 only, and, inconsequence, the allowances have had to be reduced below the usual scale; and, if so, will he say why the usual course has not been followed?

MR. G. BRUCE (Finsbury, Holborn)

also asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the Police Order quoted in the Daily Telegraph, of Saturday last, relating to the grant of refreshment allowances or gratuities to the officers and men of the Metropolitan Police Force; whether it is the fact that the police have been deprived of the usual refreshment allowance to which they are entitled under the Rules; what is the Rule governing the grant of refreshment allowances, and was the claim, in respect of which the £100 (mentioned in the Order) was given, made under that Rule; have any other payments of that character been made; and whether any steps have been taken to mitigate the pressure of exceptional work falling upon officers and men of the Police Force?

MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (Westminster)

I have also to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the grants of refreshment allowances or gratuities to the Metropolitan Police for extra service in times of emergency, whether the sum of £138 represented the allowances, calculated on the usual scale for the extra work done by the police during the recent gas and dock strikes; whether that sum was reduced to £100; whether he is aware that this reduction has caused great discontent amongst the men, and whether he will explain his reasons for the reduction?


I will answer the questions of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Pickersgill), and my hon. Friends the Members for Westminster (Mr. Burdett-Coutts), and Holborn (Mr. G. Bruce), numbered 26 and 28, at the same time. Refreshment allowances are governed by the Regulations of the Police Force, and are allowances for expenses incurred, subject to two conditions, namely, that a man has been on duty over nine hours continuously, and that he was on duty too far from his home or Division to return for meals. This refreshment allowance has never been refused, and has never been reduced in any case which comes within the Rules. Last September the Commissioner asked that the refreshment allowance should be granted to men who were not entitled to it, because they had not fulfilled the conditions laid down in the Rules, but who had done extra duty or had suffered loss of leave in connection with meetings in Hyde Park, and these demands were made on several occasions. They involved the principle that the police had an equitable right to be paid for loss of leave or for overtime beyond their usual spell of eight hours' duty. This principle has not hitherto been admitted in the administration of the police. It appears to me contrary to the terms on which the police are employed. It carries with it the consequence of payment for all overtime beyond an eight hours' day. I did not feel justified in allowing this novel claim. But whilst I declined to grant a refreshment allowance, which had not been earned, I awarded in recognition of the zeal and good services of the police a round sum of £100, to be distributed by the Commissioner at his discretion among those men who had been most inconvenienced by extra work or loss of leave. The Commissioner asked that this gratuity might be increased to £138, on the ground that £138 would enable him to grant the refreshment allowance, which I had just declined to allow as unsound in principle, and contrary to the Rules. I had had no previous estimate of this amount I declined this application. This was in February last. No distribution of the £100 gratuity was made till the 13th inst.; and the distribution, contrary to my intention, is not on the basis of rewards for exceptional hardship, but on the basis of a reduced refreshment allowance. It is very possible that discontent has been caused by the manner in, which this gift has been distributed. On May 28, I awarded another gratuity of. £200 for extra work done by the police on other occasions when the refreshment allowance had not been earned. Altogether, I have distributed in gratuities of this kind, beyond and outside the Rules governing refreshment allowances, over £900 since July last. I also, in December last, sanctioned the substantial increase of 1,000 men to the Police Force, largely with the view of mitigating the pressure of exceptional work falling upon officers and men, and my desire has always been to treat the Force with consideration and liberality, and to recognise, so far as I could, the zeal and devotion displayed by the Metropolitan Police of all ranks.

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

How many of the 1,000 men have been already added?


If I am to answer the question with perfect accuracy I must ask for notice. The increase was sanctioned in December last, and is to be made at the rate of 100 men a month. MR. T. M. HEALY: Is that the increase which was sanctioned by the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt)?


No; it was sanctioned by me in December last.


I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to confer with the Chief Secretary in order to see how English money is spent upon the police in Ireland.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

When will the question of the addition to the Police Force, and the consequent provision of expense, be brought before the House?


I am afraid I must ask for notice of that question. It will not be in the Vote this year.


Am I to understand that this House has no voice as to the number of the police?


All I intended to say was that no Vote of the House will be asked for in order to meet the expense.


Then how is the expense to be met?


Out of the income of the Metropolitan Police Fund.


Is it not the case that the income of the Metropolitan Police Fund was not too much in the past year; and how is it to be made sufficient to meet the necessities of more policemen?


On the Police Vote the fullest explanation will be given to the House.


Do I understand the Secretary of State to say that no Vote is going to be taken this year in the Estimates for the sum which is to be paid out of public money for the Metropolitan Police?




Is it intended to bring forward the Police Vote at such a time that the House may have an opportunity of discussing it?


The Police Vote will lie brought forward on an early day.


May I ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, before the Second Reading of the Police Bill is taken, he would publish the fixed scale (within the meaning of Clause 3) which he proposed to adopt for ordinary pensions in the Metropolitan Police Force.


Publication of the scale at the present time would be premature. It is enough for me to say that it is my intention, if the Bill passes in its present shape, to adopt the maximum scale in the schedule as the scale for ordinary pensions in the Metropolitan Police Force, and not to prescribe any limit of age as a qualification of the right to claim pension after 25 years* service.