§ Mr. BELL
said the objection he had to the North British Railway Bill was not a very strong one. He had had a short conference with the promoters, and had expressed the objections of the employees to one of the clauses. Under this clause the company sought to employ police on the same lines as the county and borough police. The privileges which railway police had had for some years past had been largely abused as against railway servants, who had been assaulted and wrongfully arrested upon suspicion, and wrongful searches of their houses had often been made. He thought the instances of this kind which had been brought before the public lately were a good reason why they should have some expression of opinion from the representative of the company. The railway servants objected to the police having power to follow and arrest any person who had departed from any railway station. He begged to move his Instruction.
THE EARL OF DALKEITH (Roxburghshire)
assured the hon. Member for Derby that it was not the intention of the directors of the North British Railway that their employees should be harassed unnecessarily by such proceedings, but he was not quite sure that this clause made very much difference in regard to their position. This clause had been introduced to enable them to follow luggage thieves rather than for matters of that kind, and a similar clause had already been introduced into nine other railway Bills. The clause had been considered by the Home Office, and the form which had been adopted was based on the model clause which was generally enforced. It was the last wish of the directors to harass their men or accuse them unjustly, but if there was anything of that kind in this clause, they might discuss it in Committee upstairs. He thought it would be most injudicious, and contrary to the practice of the House, to adopt Instructions of this kind at the present stage. He hoped the hon. Member would not press his Instruction, because it would, if passed, fetter the discretion of the Committee very much in dealing with this question.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.