HL Deb 17 May 1906 vol 157 cc587-92

House in Committee (according to Order).

[The EARL of ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3:—

VISCOUNT RIDLEY moved, on behalf of Lord Barnard, an Amendment to Sub-section 1 of Clause 3. The Sub-section read as follows— Where a constable of a police force to which the Police Act, 1890, applies has, in pursuance of a Royal proclamation, been called into actual service as a member of any Royal Naval Reserve force, or been called out "for permanent service as a member of the Army Reserve, his period of service under that proclamation may, if the police authority think fit, be reckoned in the computation of approved service. He moved to insert, after "Army Reserve," the words "or has been on active service with the Regular Forces as a Volunteer." He explained that the object was to make it clear that the same grounds which entitled a policeman to a pension if he was called into active service should also apply if he went on active service as a Volunteer.

Amendment moved— In page 2, line 21, after the word 'Reserve') to insert the words, 'or has been on active service with the Regular Forces as a Volunteer.' ")—(Viscount Ridley.)


My Lords, as I explained in moving the Second Reading, this Bill was mostly inherited from the late Government. This question of including Volunteers was considered in 1902, and the Bill of that year intentionally restricted it to compulsory service-arid left out voluntary service altogether. That was all that the local police asked for, and the view of the Home Office was that policemen could not properly be allowed to volunteer for military service to any large extent. Great inconvenience would be caused if policemen in large numbers desired to volunteer, and it is suggested that if they do so it should be in the position of private citizens. The only point with regard to this is that it makes permanent the provisions of the Bill which was passed by the late Government—The Police Reservists Act, 1902. I hope in those circumstances the noble Viscount will not press his Amendment.


After the statement which the noble Earl has made I will not press the Amendment, but I would express the hope that the noble Earl will give my noble friend Lord Barnard an opportunity of discussing it with him.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4:—


, on behalf of Lord Barnard, moved to amend the provision which specified the cases in which a pension or allowance became liable to be forfeited wholly or in part, and permanently or temporarily, by adding the following sub-section— Or if the grantee holds any licence for the sale of intoxicating liquors by retail in the district of the police force in which he previously served. The object of this Amendment was, he said, to make impossible scandals which occasionally arose in cases where ex-policemen took public - houses in the immediate neighbourhood of the district in which they served as policemen.

Amendment moved— In page 3, line 10, after the word 'ground' to insert the following new sub-section,' or (h) if the grantee holds any licence for the sale of intoxicating liquors by retail in the district of the police force in which he previously served.' "—(Viscount Ridley.)


My Lords, I am sorry that I am unable to accept this Amendment. The idea is that it would be a rather unreasonable disability to impose on policemen. It is very much to the public advantage that public-houses should be well conducted, and it is difficult to conceive any class in the community so likely to conduct them as well as pensioned policemen. It is thought, therefore, that by this Amendment you would exclude a large number of very well qualified people who would be able to keep the public houses held by them in good order. I should be glad, however, if he insists, to consult with the noble Lord as to some arrangement with regard to the petty sessional district. To that, it is quite true, I should have less objection.


I believe that what the noble Lord has said will entirely meet the views of my noble friend on whose behalf I moved the Amendment, and, with the consent of the House, I beg to withdraw it.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5.

Drafting Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

LORD NEWTON moved to insert the following new clause:—"The words 'in which ho has completed not less than three years approved service' contained in Section 4, Sub-section 4, of the Police Act, 1890, are hereby repealed." This was an Amendment which sought to remedy a grievance with regard to pensions which was occasionally felt in the police force. Under this Bill, and under the Act which was at present in operation, if a police officer moved from one force to another, or from one district to another, his service was disallowed for the purpose of pension unless he had passed at least three years in a particular district, although at the same time deductions from his pay were continually made in respect of the pension fund. The result of this was that a police officer, who presumably was moved on promotion because he was a capable man, was in a position of extreme disadvantage as compared with a man who had been continuously in the same place. He had been in communication with various chief constables of seventeen or eighteen years service, and some; of these officers had been obliged to deduct four or five years from the period which counted towards the pension because they had been transferred on promotion to other districts without having completed three years service. He understood that the argument against remedying what appeared to be an injustice in this case was that if police officers were allowed to move from one district to another it would promote a spirit of restlessness and encourage men to leave in a capricious manner the place where they were temporarily employed. As far as he could learn, this was quite contrary to the experience of most chief officers. It was well known that men were not allowed, to transfer without the permission of their superior officers, or presumably without the permission of the local authority; and, on the other hand, applications were constantly made from other districts for the services of capable and experienced men. If, therefore, officers of experience were required, naturally they had to be drawn from some other district, and it appeared to him to be distinctly hard upon these men that they should be penalised for their efficiency by suffering as regards their pension from the fact that they had been transferred from one district to another. It would be apparently absurd if an officer, for instance, in the Army were to be mulcted in his pension because he had been removed from one regiment to another, or from one branch of the service to another. It seemed to him that this was a well-founded complaint, and he hoped the noble Earl would be able to accept his Amendment, more especially as he understood it was only defeated by one Vote in Grand Committee in another place.

Amendment moved— After Clause 7 to insert the following new clause: 'The words "in which he has completed not less than "three years approved service," contained in Section 4, Sub-section 4, of the Police Act, 1890, are hereby repealed.' "—(Lord Newton.)


My Lords, I am sorry not to be able to accept the Amendment. I cannot help thinking there is some mistake in the noble Lord's mind. I understood him to say that he had heard complaints from police officers and chief constables that they were obliged to deduct four or five years service. The clause merely concerns periods of less than three years service, and I do not quite understand how he is able to raise the number to four or five years. The reason why the Home Office are unable to accept the Amendment is that in their opinion frequent removals from one force to another do not tend to efficiency, These removals chiefly occur in the case of detectives, and it takes a detective very nearly three years to learn his work, to know the neighbourhood thoroughly, and therefore to become properly efficient, and it is really very hard on a district that when a police officer has just learned his work he should go away to another district. A good deal of his usefulness is, in such a case, wasted. It is quite true that the sanction of the chief officer would still be required, but it does place the chief officer in rather an invidious position. It is thought that the three years limit makes it somewhat easier for him, while it safeguards the public interest against abuse. Until a short time ago the limit with regard to this was seven years. That has now been reduced to three years, which is a considerable improvement in the position of police constables. There are really only two classes of cases in which it is supposed to act at all—first, where the officer has risen to the rank of chief constable, in which case he can generally serve on for another year or so and complete his term of service and get full pension; and, secondly, in the matter of detectives. In that case any officer who moves from one force to another does so of his own accord and with his eyes open. He is not obliged to go. Inspectors of constabulary throughout the country are in favour of the retention of the term of three years, as also was a deputation from the City and Borough Chief Constables Association which waited on the Home Office a short time ago.


said the noble Earl did not apparently entirely understand the Amendment. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that an officer moved from one place after having served two years and 364 days. That period would not count towards a pension. He might be removed to another district and remain there for a similar period, and so on, and he might have twenty years service, and yet, if he had moved sufficiently often, not be entitled to a pension at all.


mentioned in support of the Amendment a case of a chief constable who had twenty-five years service, but who was unable to count five years of that period because he had been twice in districts for two-and-a-half years only, having been promoted for efficiency.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


said lie would not press the Amendment to a division, as he understood that the noble Earl in charge of the Bill had agreed to a compromise, and was willing to substitute a period of two years for the three years in the Bill.

Remaining Clause agreed to, and Bill reported with Amendment to the House. Bill re-committed to the Standing Committee; and to be printed as amended. [No. 92.]

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