HC Deb 18 May 1914 vol 62 cc1581-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state which of the recommendations of the Select Committee on Street Traffic Accidents have been carried out?


As far as the Metropolitan Police are concerned, the Commissioner has taken active steps to secure the carrying out of those recommendations of the Committee affecting the safety of the public which can be dealt with under existing powers. He has been in constant communication with various borough councils as to the provision of new refuges, and fifty-eight new refuges have been put up during the present year. Additional police have been employed on traffic duty, and the question of stopping places for trams and omnibuses is now being dealt with as recommended in paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Committee's report. Tramway authorities and the managers of omnibus companies have also been approached with a view to learning whether they are willing to submit their running tables to inspection. By-laws as to slow-moving traffic and unsound vehicles have been made by the London County Council, and have come into force. As regards the other recommendations of the Committee, I must refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Prime Minister on the 20th April.


asked if he will say how many street traffic fatalities occurred in the streets of the Metropolitan Police area and the City of London during the month of April; and how many of these fatalities were caused by motor omnibuses and tramcars, respectively?


Thirty-two persons are known to have been killed by vehicles within the Metropolitan Police area, ten of these by motor omnibuses and one by a tramcar. In the City of London one person was killed by a van.


asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to an accident to a horse in Kings-land Road on Wednesday, 6th May, when, owing to the time needed to summon the veterinary surgeon and the licensed slaughterer, the animal, with a broken leg, was kept in its misery for an hour and a half, although a well-known local resident offered to shoot it on the spot; and whether he can see his way so to alter or relax the police regulations as to enable the more expeditious slaughter of animals meeting with serious accidents in the streets?


I have made inquiry as to this case. Immediate steps were taken to communicate with the owner, to summon forthwith a veterinary surgeon and to summon a horse slaughterer. These calls were sent simultaneously to avoid delay, and the animal was actually destroyed an hour and ten minutes after the accident happened. When such accidents occur, urgent steps are invariably taken by the police, and, generally speaking, the time that elapses is much less than in this case; but it would not be consistent with public safety that well-meaning but probably inexperienced persons should attempt to shoot animals in crowded streets.


Is it not a fact that there is only one official licensed slaughterer for the whole of London, and if so are not such delays inevitable?


I should like notice of that question.


Could not the right hon. Gentleman arrange that a "humane-killer" should be kept at every police station so that it might be readily available in such cases?


I am unable to answer that question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the attention of his predecessors was constantly being called to the scandal caused by the present state of the law and that several cases were reported in which horses were kept an hour and an hour and a half before being slaughtered?


Such facts and incidents may have been brought to the notice of my predecessors, but I can certainly say that I have never had any number of such incidents brought to my notice.


Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire into the nature of this humane horse-killer?