HC Deb 01 March 1895 vol 31 cc154-5
MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)

I beg to ask the Secretary of the Local Government Board, whether the duty of making out lists of persons liable to serve, or recommending them to serve, as unpaid parish constables, under 5 and 6 Vict., c. 109, and the Parish Constables Act 1872, now rests with parish councils; whether the parish council can lawfully be summoned by the overseers to hold a meeting for the purposes set forth in Section 3, and whether the overseers are liable to the penalties referred to in Section 9, if they do not return lists, the preparation of which they have no power to control, and if they do not attend the special sessions to verify lists which they have now no power to return under Section 10; whether persons, selected and appointed by justices as unpaid constables, although not nominated by a parish council, can be fined for refusing to act or be sworn in; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will arrange that by special statute or by the Statute Law Revision Act, provisions of the law rendered useless by the Local Government Act 1894, or inconsistent therewith, shall be repealed this Session.


By the 35 and 36 Viet., c. 92, unpaid parish constables are not to be appointed unless the quarter sessions by resolution determine that it is necessary that one or more parish constables shall be appointed for the parish. Where such a resolution is in force the duty of the vestry in this matter has been transferred to the parish council. The overseers are not empowered to summon a meeting of the parish council—the meeting must be summoned in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894. It would appear that the overseers are still bound, where such a resolution is in force, to make a return to the precept of the justices, and in case the parish council have made out a list, and have furnished the overseers with a copy of it, the copy of the list should accompany the return. The overseers are also presumably obliged to attend the special sessions in such a case, in order to verify the list. The justices, it would appear, can only appoint the constables from the allowed list. Section 13 of 5 and 6 Vict., c. 109, which provided that any person appointed and not finding a substitute, should be liable to a fine, has been repealed by the 35 and 36 Vict., c. 92, which merely provides that the person chosen shall be bound to act as a constable, or to submit another person to the justices to be appointed in his stead. As regards the concluding question, I will communicate with the Statute Law Committee on the subject.