§ MR. BROADHURST) (Nottingham, W.
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether it is true that a police sergeant at Bo'ness holds the position of Procurator Fiscal, and can, consequently, institute a prosecution, issue a warrant, personally arrest, and afterwards act as prosecutor; and whether this was recently done in the case of the crew of the steamship Firdew, of London, who refused to proceed to sea in that vessel in consequence of the terms of the articles which they had signed being altered without their consent, and, if so, whether he will take steps to remedy what appears to be a reasonable grievance?
§ *THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
It is the fact that a police sergeant at Bo'ness holds the position of Procurator Fiscal, and can consequently institute a prosecution, arrest, and act as prosecutor, but he has no power to issue a warrant. There is nothing illegal in such an appointment; and a clause similar to the section of the General Police Act of 1862, authorising the practice, has been approved by the several Committees of this and the other House, who have considered the provisions of the Burgh Police and Health (Scotland) Bill. A complaint has reached me as regards the crew who deserted from the steamship Firdew, into which I have ordered inquiry. But, so far as I can at present ascertain, nothing was done by the police on that occasion which they are not authorised to do, and no proceedings took place before the Burgh Court in connection with the desertion.