HL Deb 16 August 1839 vol 50 cc368-9

On the Motion of Viscount Duncannon, the House went into Committee on the Birmingham Police Bill (No. 2).

On clause 1,

Lord Brougham

said, in consequence of objections having been raised to vesting certain powers with the town-council of Birmingham, on the ground that the charter was likely to be set aside, he intended to propose, that every part of the bill should remain precisely as it was, except that part which related to the nomination and appointment of the superin- tendent of the police, and to give that power jointly to the Secretary of State and the town-council, so that the latter should be at liberty to name a superintendent, subject to the approval or rejection of the Secretary of State. If the town-council should not nominate an officer within a certain number of days, then the Secretary of State should at once appoint one. That would provide for the contingency, if it should arise, of the charter not being valid, and it would meet the suggestion which the noble Duke opposite threw out last night. He thought nothing could prevent their Lordships from agreeing to this proposition but a deep-rooted distrust of the town-council of Birmingham, which had done nothing to deserve it. He was told, that the amount of the salary to the superintendent was strongly objected to. Certainly, 800l. a-year was a large sum; in other places the salaries of superintendents of police ranged from 150l. to 400l. a-year, which last was the highest salary. In Liverpool, a much larger place, it was but 400l., and he did not know why it should be twice as much at Birmingham. But he was afraid their Lordships could not alter that part of the bill, and he only mentioned it as an additional ground for agreeing to his amendment.

Viscount Duncannon

thought it was not unreasonable, that as the bill was to last only two years, a liberal salary should be given in order to secure a competent person for the office.

Lord Ellenborough

said, his objection to the amendment of the noble and learned Lord was one of principle. He could not consent to divide the responsibility in the manner proposed.

The House resumed.