HC Deb 27 February 1930 vol 235 cc2390-2

asked the Home Secretary whether he has investigated the case of Mrs. Sylvia Machin, who was robbed by ex-Police-constable William Scott, of the Metropolitan Police, when the police constable was on duty, of some £15 worth of cloth, the police constable entering her lockup workshop; whether he is aware that Mrs. Machin, as a result of this robbery, has lost her work and is reduced to penury with four children to maintain; and has he any fund out of which some recompense can be given to Mrs. Machin, who cannot afford to sue the police, in view of the fact that this police constable, while on duty, instead of protecting her lock-up shop broke into it, for which he was convicted and sentenced at the Old Bailey?


Yes, Sir, and having considered all the circumstances I am afraid I cannot hold out any expectation of compensation from public funds and there is no other fund at my disposal from which a payment could be made.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Metropolitan Police have given compensation to men who have been improperly arrested, or for other reasons? Here is a case of a poor woman who has been robbed by a policeman on duty, on his own beat, and the right hon. Gentleman tells me that there is no fund available. Out of which fund is the other compensation given?


This is a case in which a policeman committed a very serious offence and has been very severely punished. He has been dismissed, and is now in prison. I know of no like case where compensation has been paid.

Colonel ASHLEY

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman make a precedent in this case? Is it not very hard on this poor woman, who has nothing, and who has been robbed by a servant of the State, that the State should pay her no comsation?


If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are anxious to have some revolutionary step taken in this case, I do not mind giving further consideration to it.


Is not this a case of common justice and will not the right hon. Gentleman make a fund available even if the House have to make a special Vote?


Seeing that the policeman was on duty at the time, surely the country is liable for compensation?


Has not the right hon. Gentleman some discretionary power in a matter of this kind, where he can exercise his clemency?


I can only repeat that I know of no like case where compensation has been paid, but I shall, of course, pay due regard to the opinion which is pretty evident in the House.

Colonel ASHLEY

I beg to give notice that this day week I will put down another question, to ascertain what action the right hon. Gentleman has taken.

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