HC Deb 06 July 1916 vol 83 cc1732-4

(1) Where a police authority has accepted the offer of any person to assist the police in the execution of any of their duties connected with the present War, and such person is incapacitated by an injury received by him whilst rendering such assistance under the supervision or in accordance with the directions of the police authority, or dies from the effect of any injury so received without his own default, the police authority may grant to him or his wife and children a pension or pensions and allowances, at the same rates as under the Police Act, 1890, would have been payable had such person been a constable who had completed not more than five years' service and was drawing pay at the rate of five shillings a day, and all such pensions and allowances shall be I paid out of the Police Fund.

(2) This Section shall apply to Scotland with the substitution of a reference to the Police (Scotland) Act, 1890, for the reference to the Police Act, 1890.


Before the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. James Mason) moves the Amendment which he has on the Paper, I wish, on a point of Order, to call attention to the fact that this is a Bill "relating to the police and certain other enactments with the administration of which the Secretary of State for the Home Department is concerned." The hon. Member's Amendment relates to fire brigades, which are largely bodies that are not under the Home Office, and are not managed by the police authorities. There are cases in which by arrangement town councils and police authorities take over the duties of fire brigades, and the watch committees take over the duty of looking after fires. In some cases the firemen are enrolled as constables of the Police Force, but this is not the case as a rule, and over a very great part of the country the fire brigades have nothing to do with the police authorities. The hon. Member, by his Amendment, seeks to make police authorities liable to make payment to fire brigades which axe not under those authorities.


On the point of Order, Sir. The object of my moving to insert the words "or where any person duly authorised by a local authority to extinguish fires is engaged in the execution of any duties connected with the present War," is to prevent the exclusion of firemen from the benefits of this Clause. The people who benefit by the Clause are those over whom the police authority have accepted an offer of service. A fireman, having the right to go to a fire to give his assistance in putting out the fire, does not require his offer to be accepted by the police to render assistance, and, therefore, by the mere fact that he happens to be a fireman, he does not obtain the benefit from the Clause which any other class would get. My Amendment would have the effect of including the firemen, who would, otherwise, get no benefits under this Clause.


If firemen are in the police, they would come under the Clause like anybody else; if they were enlisted for that purpose by the police they would come under the Clause. If they were not, I see no more reason why they should be included in this Bill than the school teacher who may suffer an accident while engaged in teaching in school.


I may state that it has been held by the Court that firemen do not derive benefit from the Workmen's Compensation Act if they are injured by any occurrence arising out of acts of war. It has been held that if any injury arises to members of fire brigades through acts of war, then the local authorities cannot be held liable, and, therefore, if a fireman, going to a fire to assist the police, were to be killed by a bomb, he would not be able to get compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and, according to the Bill, would derive no benefit from this Clause.


On the point of Order. After hearing both views I am clearly of opinion that the Amendment is not in order.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "wife" ["or to his wife"], and to insert instead thereof the word "widow."

This Amendment comes before that which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Somerset, and really effects the purpose which the hon. Gentleman has in view.

Amendment agreed to.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.