§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 1:
§ Retention by ex-constables of pensions whilst employed for the purposes of the war.
§ 1.—(1) Where for purposes connected with the present war a constable in receipt of a pension under the Police Act, 1890, has, whether before or after the passing of this Act, enlisted or entered or been granted a commission in any of His Majesty's forces, or obtained employment under the Admiralty or Army Council or the Ministry of Munitions, or entered or re-entered the service of any police force, subsection (2) of section thirteen of the Police Act, 1890 (which relates to the suspension of pension in cases of appointments to new offices) shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have applied except to such extent as the police authority may otherwise determine.
§ LORD BERESFORD
I move the insertion, after subsection (1) of Clause 1, of the new subsection standing in my name. I brought this forward in the House of Commons last year. It was agreed to by the Minister of the Crown, Mr. McKenna, but he did not insert it in my words. The point I want to bring before your Lordships is this, that it should be perfectly clear that any police officer who joins the Army, and who has earned a pension in respect of the time during which he served in the Police previously, should not lose that pension owing to any offence he may commit in the Army.
§ Amendment moved—
Clause 1, page 1, after subsection (1) insert the following new subsection:
(2) Where a constable entitled to pension under the Police Act, 1890, has been retained under section two of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, and has, whether before or after the passing of this Act, left the Police Service under circumstances which would not render his pension liable to forfeiture had he been in receipt of his pension under the Police Act, 1890, such pension shall be payable from the date of his leaving in like manner as if he had retired on medical certificate or with consent of the chief officer of Police.—(Lord Beresford.)
By the Police Act, 1890, a constable of twenty-five years service is entitled to retire on a pension, and this pension can be forfeited only in certain cases which are defined by the Act—that is, if he is convicted of an offence 968 punishable with penal servitude or three months imprisonment, or if he knowingly associates with thieves, and so on. The Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, suspended this right and enacted that constables who have served more than twenty-five years should not retire during the war except by special permission. But it reserved their right to pension after the war—that is to say, a man retained after twenty-five years service, if subsequently dismissed for any cause for which his pension would be forfeited, will remain entitled to his full pension after the termination of the war. This provision has been shown to be of great value. It has retained in the Police a large number of men who would otherwise have retired on pension, and these men have, almost without exception, accepted the requirement loyally and continued to serve most faithfully. The result has been that no fresh recruiting in the Police Forces has been necessary, and hundreds, if not thousands, of men have thus been left free for military service. There was, however, one exception. A constable who wished to retire and was refused leave to do so deliberately disobeyed orders and had to be dismissed. But at the end of the war he will receive his pension; in the meantime, however, he is not entitled to it. The effect of my noble friend's Amendment would be to give this man his pension at once, and to do the same for any other man who might choose to disobey orders. Its effect would be to nullify altogether the provision of the Police (Emergency Powers) Act to which I have referred, because any constable to whom permission to retire was refused and who disobeyed orders and forced the Police authority to dismiss him could claim at once his full pension. The result would be disastrous to the discipline of the force. Were the proposal in the Amendment sanctioned, it might lead to a large number of retirements of elder men whose places would have to be taken by younger men, with the result that the fighting power of the country would be proportionately diminished. I submit that these are sound reasons against the Amendment, and I hope the noble and gallant Lord will not press it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.969
§ Clause 2:
§ Payments to constables serving in the naval and military forces and their dependants.
§ 2.—(1) Where before the passing of this Act a police authority has resolved, promised, sanctioned or agreed to make to any constable serving in His Majesty's forces for the purposes of the present war, payments in excess of the amounts authorised by the Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Acts, 1914 and 1915, any such excess payments up to the date of the passing of this Act, or such later date as may be determined by the Secretary of State, shall be deemed to have been lawfully made, and the Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, sanction the continuance of such excess payments after such date as aforesaid, and shall do so in any case where it appears to him that the constable joined His Majesty's forces in reliance on such resolution, promise, sanction, or agreement, and that the amount of the excess is not unreasonable.
§ (2) In the case of any constable who dies or has died whilst employed on naval or military service in respect of whom no pension or gratuity is payable from the Police Fund the police authority shall have power to return to any of his dependants, as defined in section one of the Police Reservists (Allowances) Act, 1914, the rateable deductions which have been made from his pay towards pension.
§ (3) This section shall apply to Scotland with the substitution of a reference to the Secretary for Scotland for the reference to the Secretary of State.
§ LORD BERESFORD
I move to insert in Clause 2, after subsection (2), the new subsection standing in my name. Reservists and policemen specially selected by the Admiralty or the Army Council were granted police allowances for their wives and dependants, but men who from purely patriotic motives enlisted in the Navy or Army without the consent of the chief officer of the Police Force to which they belonged were compelled to resign altogether their connection with the Police Service. Their wives receive no police allowance, and the men have no legal claim to reinstatement in the Police Service after the war. I think it is rather hard that these men should suffer owing to their patriotism in joining His Majesty's Forces, and I therefore move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ Amendment moved—
Clause 2, page 2, after subsection (2) insert the following new subsection:
(3) For the purposes of section one of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, any police constable who enlisted in His Majesty's Forces prior to the passing of the above Act, and who resigned from the Police Force for the purpose of so enlisting shall be considered to have; enlisted with the consent of the chief officer of police of the force to which he belonged.—(Lord Beresford.)
The Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act of 1914 provided that if a police constable enlisted with the consent of the chief officer, and subject to other conditions, an allowance in addition to the military separation allowance might be made to his wife from the Police Fund. This provision was re-enacted in the Police (Emergency Powers) Act, 1915, and made wider by the omission of some of the conditions previously imposed; but it still retained the condition that the enlistment must be with the approval of the chief officer. It is clear that it is necessary to impose this restriction on the enlistment of police constables. Chief constables have generally been very ready to allow as many as possible of their men to enlist. More than 25 per cent. of the whole of the Police Forces have joined the Army; but it is absolutely necessary, it is considered, in order to prevent the Police Forces being depleted to a dangerous extent, that they should be able to retain a sufficient number to keep the peace and carry out the numerous and arduous duties imposed upon them by the war. One case occurred in the Metropolitan Police, where a constable had been definitely refused permission to enlist and chose to resign and join the Military Mounted Police. It had been made perfectly clear to him before he did so that he would be entitled to no allowance from the Police Fund for his wife. It would be extremely desirable not to alter the law and require the Police authority now to grant an allowance in this case. I may point out that this man has suffered no hardship, for his wife is entitled to the full separation allowance granted to the wives of other soldiers; and perhaps I might add that there are hundreds of other men just as anxious as this constable to join His Majesty's Forces, but who loyally continue to serve in the Police Force on being required to do so, and it would be unfair to them to give one particular man a certain privilege. I hope that in the circumstances the noble and gallant Lord will withdraw his Amendment.
§ LORD BERESFORD
I would point out that this circumstance occurred to more than one man. It was before the Act of 1915 that men resigned the Police and joined the Army. Those are the men for whom I am pleading. The Act of 1915 presses very hardly on those men who did not know that it was coming.
The point is that a police constable must not join the Army without the leave of his chief officer. That is the point of my objection.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD BERESFORD
I move the insertion in Clause 2 of the other subsection standing in my name. I understand that if a police officer is promoted while serving with the naval or military forces, his wife gets a reduced allowance.
§ Amendment moved—
Clause 2, page 2, insert the following new subsection:
(4) The allowance from Police Funds granted to the wife of a police officer shall not be reduced on account of her husband's promotion while serving with the Naval or Military Forces.—(Lord Beresford.)
I submit to my noble and gallant friend that this Amendment is not necessary. When an allowance to the wife has been granted under Section 1 of the Police (Reservists' Allowances) Act, it is not liable to reduction because the man has been promoted to non-commissioned rank; and as regards a man promoted to a commission, there is a declaratory clause in the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act which runs—For removing all doubt, it is hereby declared that the privileges to which a man may be entitled under the Police (Reservists' Allowances) Act and the other emergency Police Acts shall continue and may be renewed notwithstanding that the man is granted a temporary commission for the purposes of the present war in His Majesty's naval or military service.
§ The Amendment, therefore is not required.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
Can the noble Lord in charge of the Bill give me an answer to the question which I asked in the Committee stage—namely, how long the vote binds those workers who come into the works after the vote has been taken, with regard to certain things which are ordered by this Bill.
The reply I have to give to my noble friend is that these and other matters must, it is considered, be left to be worked out in connection with 972 particular Orders and particular cases. Different provisions might arise in different circumstances, and it is impossible to lay down a general rule to govern every case that could be inserted in the clause. I venture to remind the noble Lord that the Orders requiring contributions will relate to provisions of additional and special benefit to the workers, the whole cost of which it would be unfair to place upon the employer; and it would also be unreasonable to require an employer in a certain case to lay out a large sum of capital, and then in a year or two to find that the workers no longer wished to contribute. I might emphasise what I said the other day, that cases where these contributions may be required will be very exceptional, and only where a strong case can be made out and it can be shown that the proposal is workable and likely to be of permanent advantage. I would point out that the Secretary of State has power to revoke an Order, or to make a fresh one; so that if a good case were made out for rescinding an Order, that could be done.
§ LORD MUIR-MACKENZIE
I wish to ask my noble friend whether he will be so good as to consider, before the next stage of the Bill, whether the title ought not to be altered. The title of a Bill generally is a sort of label that gives one an idea of its contents. This Bill is labelled "Police, &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill," and nobody would dream for a moment that there were in it a page and a half of provisions relating to factories, and also a provision, the full scope of which it is difficult to ascertain merely from reading it, with reference to lunacy. The fact is that the title, instead of being "Police, &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill," ought to be "Miscellaneous Provisions (Police, &c.) Bill," and I suggest to the noble Lord that before the next stage he should consider whether the title ought not to be altered so that people may know that provisions relating to factories and to lunacy are to be found within the Bill.
I will represent to the Secretary of State what the noble Lord has said. I am sure that in putting all these matters together in one Bill the Secretary of State had the idea only of general convenience and the convenience of public business. The clauses relating to the Police were very necessary. The clauses relating to factories were also necessary 973 because of the large influx of women who have come into factories of different descriptions owing to the war. In regard to the particular clause which the noble Lord mentioned—Clause 11—which has to do with the powers of the late Lunacy Commissioners, the reason for putting it in was this. In the case of a Member of Parliament who unfortunately becomes a lunatic, his seat cannot be vacated without a report from two Lunacy Commissioners. Now that there are no Lunacy Commissioners, it was considered advisable as soon as possible to get this power put in. But I will lay before my right hon. friend the wish of the noble Lord, and will let him know Mr. Samuel's opinion at the next stage of the Bill.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not believe that the long title of the Bill can be altered at this stage, but I think the short title can. In my opinion the noble Lord opposite is justified in the suggestion be has made. It might be extremely misleading to any one who wanted to find out what had been done on this lunacy provision, for instance, if he could not find the provision because it was concealed under the ample folds of a Police Bill. He would not expect to find it there. I think that in the interests of the study of legislation there should be some phrase at the beginning of the title, such as "Miscellaneous Provisions," as the noble Lord proposed, so that there may be warning that under that heading there may be found these various provisions relating to the Home Department. The title should be made to conform with the contents of the Bill.
§ Bill to be read 3a on Tuesday next.