SIR J. COLOMB, &c.) (Tower Hamlets, Bow
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any general record is kept at the Home Office of chimney sweepers in England who, by reason of employing "journeymen assistants or apprentices," are compelled to take out annual certificates under the provisions of 38 & 39 Vic, c. 70; if so, whether he can state the number of such certificated chimney sweepers, and what proportion that number bears to the total number of chimney sweepers in England who, by reason of not employing "journeymen assistants or apprentices," are not required to take out certificates; whether the police authorities have any statutory power to refuse to grant or renew certificates to 559 applicants who have been convicted of burglary, robbery, or theft; and whether he is aware that the United Chimney Sweeps' Protection Association strongly complain that persons convicted of burglary, robbery, or theft are allowed to pursue the trade or business of chimney sweeper?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS,) Birmingham, E.
No general record of chimney sweepers who have to take out annual certificates is kept at the Home Office. The registers of certificates are, by the 14th section of the Chimney Sweepers' Act of 1875, required to be kept by chief officers of police. The register for the Metropolitan Police district is kept by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and shows that 190 chimney sweepers hold certificates, and that they employ 239 journeymen. In London the number of unregistered chimney sweepers is stated to be 984. The Home Office has no information as to the number of registered or unregistered chimney sweepers outside the Metropolis. It does not appear that the Act of 1875 enables police authorities to refuse to grant or renew certificates to any chimney sweeper who applies in proper form, pays the statutory fee, and has not been disqualified by a conviction under the Acts of 1840 and 1864, which were passed for the protection of young persons employed by chimney sweepers rather than of householders by whom chimney sweepers are employed. The complaint referred to in the third paragraph of the question has not been communicated either to the Commissioner of Police or the Home Office.