HC Deb 17 March 1927 vol 203 cc2169-70

asked the Home Secretary what instructions are given to the police with regard to stopping motorists driving through the streets of London and other large cities with open exhausts; whether offenders are warned and summoned after warning; and, if so, how many convictions have taken place during the past 12 months dealing with this nuisance?


I am not aware of the exact terms of the instructions given by each chief officer of police to his force on this matter, but they no doubt direct police to take all practicable steps to enforce the law, which prohibits the use of cut-outs or other similar fittings permitting the exhaust gases from the engine to escape without First passing through a silencer. It is no doubt the general practice to warn offenders in suitable cases; but where proceedings are to be taken, no purpose would be served by a warning in addition to a summons. In the time available I have been able to obtain particulars of convictions only for the Metropolitan Police District and the City of London. In the former there were 9,575 during 1926, and in the latter 377 between 1st March, 1926, and 1st instant.

Colonel DAY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Great Portland Street many motorists are going up and down with open exhausts, and will he instruct the police in this neighbourhood to pay special attention to it?


I made a public announcement in the House about a week ago that I had instructed the police to do away with this real nuisance, and from the figures I have given about 9,500 persons were prosecuted and convicted in the last 12 months in the Metropolitan district. We shall continue this policy. Cars can be used without open exhausts.

Captain BRASS

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these cases refer to motor bicycles?


If the hon. and gallant Member will put down a question, I will give him the relative figures.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the penalties in these cases are such as will do away with the evil?


The question of penalties is one for the Magistrates, and I am afraid there would be a great outcry if I attempted to coerce them in this matter.