§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if there should be any abuse of authority on the part of policemen or Inspectors of police in England in the administration of the law, which Minister of the Crown is responsible to this House for such abuses, and whose duty is it to answer questions in this House relating to the same?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS, Birmingham, E.)
In reply to the abstract question of the hon. Member, I have little to add to what I said yesterday. With regard to the action of the Metropolitan Police, the Secretary of State is responsible to this House, and is bound to answer questions relating to the manner in which they have exercised their authority. With regard to the provincial police, the case is different. The Secretary of State is the Minister to whom Local Authorities refer for advice and guidance, and who in proper cases would direct legal proceedings to redress violations of the law; but neither he nor any Minister of the Crown is responsible to this House, in the strict sense of those words, for abuses of authority in the administration of the law by the provincial police, who are under the control of the Local Autho- 469 rities. Those Authorities are responsible for taking the proper disciplinary measures. When questions are put relating to the action of the provincial police, the Secretary of State, as a matter of habitual Parliamentary courtesy, obtains the desired information from the Local Authorities in proper cases, and communicates that information to the House.