HC Deb 31 July 1900 vol 87 cc171-2

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, seeing that the watermen on the Thames receive a pecuniary reward for the recovery from the river of a dead body, but nothing for the rescue of a living body, he will consider the desirability, in the public interest, of making the work of rescue at least as remunerative as that of recovery.


I presume that what the hon. Member calls a reward is the fee of 5s. to which any person is entitled who first gives notice of the discovery of a drowned body to the parish authorities, under a statute of George III., of which the object was to secure the decent burial of cast- aways. I cannot credit the suggestion that for the sake of this sum any waterman would deliberately refrain from rescuing a person alive; and I do not propose to take any steps in the direction suggested, though I may mention that the police bring any attempt to save life from drowning (whether successful or not) to the notice of the Royal Humane Society, who make awards in cases where they consider that the circumstances justify recognition.