HL Deb 22 August 1839 vol 50 cc484-6

Viscount Duncannon moved the Order of the Day for a Com- mittee on the Bolton Police Bill. If their Lordships consented to go into Committee, he would then move a clause empowering the Commissioners to extend the advantages of the police force to be established by the bill, to that part of Little Bolton which was without the borough. With regard to the conduct of the mayor, which had been commented on by the noble and learned Lord opposite, an inquiry had been instituted by the Home Secretary-He had read every communication which had been received respecting the occurrences at Bolton; he had obtained, besides, all the information he could upon the subject; and he must say, that there did not appear to him anything in the conduct of the mayor which could not be approved of by the Government.

Lord Lyndhurst

begged to observe, that that part of the force at present in Bolton which was appointed by the court-leet consisted of thirteen persons, and that there was besides a force of 40 consstables. How they were chosen he was not aware, but they were regularly sworn in, and had existed for a period of thirty or forty years; so that, at this moment, they had this body of forty persons, in addition to those elected by the court-leet, and also the body of special constables which had been called into action by the mayor. What, then, did the noble Viscount propose to effect by this bill? It would establish a rate of 8d. in the pound; and supposing the noble Viscount to introduce the clause to which he referred, so as to render the whole of the rate-payers of that part of Little Bolton without the borough liable to that rate, the sum levied would not exceed 3,000l. After deducting the necessary expenses provided by the bill, there would be left for the police the sum of 1,560l. Now, if they were to be paid at the rate of 1l. per week, that sum would only raise a force of about thirty-two men, so that they were, in fact, abolishing a police force of a considerably greater number, as he had already shown, for the purpose of supplying a police force of thirty-two persons. What he had stated the other evening, with respect to the conduct of the mayor, had been communicated to him by letters from Bolton, the accuracy of which he had no reason to doubt, but as that subject was now under inquiry, he would say nothing more upon the subject. The question between them was this:—this Act would put an end to the operation of an existing police, and substitute a force which he considered inadequate to preserve the peace of so populous a town as Bolton in case of riot. He made no opposition to the motion of the noble Viscount; but upon him and the Government must rest the responsibility.

Their Lordships went into Committee.

Some amendments were made, and the House resumed.

Bill to be reported.