HC Deb 29 March 1897 vol 47 c1566
CAPTAIN PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, with regard to his statement that the punishment of police supervision is mainly given by Courts of Quarter Sessions, owing to offences against property, to which this sentence is specially suited, being tried chiefly before such Courts, it is the case that of 1,626 prisoners convicted at Assizes of those particular offences in 1895, only 13, or less than 0.80 per cent., were sentenced to this form of punishment, while of 5,032 such convictions at Quarter Sessions no less than 343, or 6.77 per cent., were so punished; and if this is the case, seeing that the explanation of these figures given in the Report on Judicial statistics does not attempt to explain away this difference but merely to render it less surprising, he can take some steps to diminish in the future the large proportion of these sentences passed by Courts of Quarter Sessions.


The hon. Member's figures are accurate, but I cannot accept the conclusion that he appears to draw from them. The sentence of police supervision is passed only on habitual criminals, and if passed in proper cases, where it is effective, in restraining from crime, it is a more lenient method of dealing with the offender than a long term of penal servitude. The matter is one in which must decline to interfere with the discretion either of the Judges or of the Courts of Quarter Sessions.