§ MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the powers and regulations of the police in the Metropolis, in respect to the carrying of lights after dark by public carriages, especially omnibuses; whether there are any in respect of private vehicles; and whether any special order is issued for the winter months or for foggy weather?
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
On the same subject I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, having regard to the great increase of heavy vehicular traffic in the streets of the Metropolis, he will, for the protection of the public, procure, either by regulation or legislation, that every vehicle traversing the streets after dark, or in dark weather, shall, under penalty of a fine, be compelled to carry an external light; and whether he is aware that the Postmaster General has issued an order whereby all vehicles employed in the Post Office service are compelled to carry an external light after dark?
§ MR. HULSE (Salisbury)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the advisability of laying down a rule for the Metropolis that every vehicle after sunset and during a fog should be provided with a light in accordance with the invariable custom of other countries?
§ MR. WILLIAM LOWTHER (Westmoreland, Appleby)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Depart- 1692 ment, whether there are now, or have been within the last 20 years, any police regulations obliging all vehicles, circulating in the streets of the Metropolis, to be supplied with lights after sunset?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
In reply to these various questions, I have to say that Section 14 of 16 and 17 Vic., cap. 33, provides for lamps being placed inside metropolitan stage carriages by proprietors and kept lighted by conductors or drivers between sunset and sunrise. The Commissioner's Order as to this is as follows:—The police are to observe and report all stage carriages travelling after dark without being lighted by a lamp inside.The Secretary of State has power, under 32 and 33 Vic., cap. 115, section 9, to prescribe the times during which hackney carriages when plying for hire shall be provided with a lamp. No order has ever been made under this section. The matter has been carefully considered by my predecessors on more than one occasion, and in their opinion cogent reasons have existed for not acting upon this Section. I beg to refer my hon. Friends to an answer given in this House by Mr. Secretary Bruce in 1870. I have, however, requested the Commissioner of Police to reconsider this question, together with the whole question of traffic regulation, upon which he is preparing suggestions. At present the police have no power to deal with private vehicles. Legislation would be necessary.
§ MR. LAWSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman lay the Report of the Commissioner of Police upon the Table of the House?