HC Deb 02 March 1897 vol 46 cc1434-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring in a Bill to obviate the difficulties at times caused to the police and the hardships to some prisoners by re-arrests at prison gates for similar offences previously committed in a different county or jurisdiction; or, if not prepared to take this course, will he send out generally to police authorities, chairmen of quarter sessions, and judges a circular on this subject, similar to the one addressed by himself last summer to the Liverpool Watch Committee, so as to facilitate arrangements that a prisoner on trial on confessing any previous offence in addition to that for which he is accused, may be dealt with by a single sentence and punishment?


I have considered the possibility of remedying the hardship to which the hon. Member refers by means of legislation, and have consulted Her Majesty's Judges on the point; but it was found that there were great difficulties in the way. In order if possible to diminish the hardship, I caused the circular which the hon. Member mentions to be issued, not to the Liverpool Watch Committee only, but to all the police authorities in the country. I do not see that anything would be gained by issuing another circular to judges, recorders, or chairmen of quarter sessions. I am glad to say that I find the circular has been effective.