HL Deb 03 December 1953 vol 184 cc934-6

3.26 p.m.


My Lords, I do not think I need add anything to what my noble friend Lord Lloyd has said. These Regulations apply to Scotland in identically the same way as to England. Public opinion has been greatly disturbed by the number of cases in which policemen have been brutally attacked and in which it has been impossible to pay to the dependants the kind of compensation which public opinion felt to be right. These Regulations attempt to help in that way, and therefore I hope that your Lordships will agree to them in relation to Scotland as you have in relation to England. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Police Pensions (Scotland) Regulations, 1953, reported from the Special Orders Committee on Wednesday the 18th of November last, be approved.—(The Earl of Home.)

3.27 p.m.


My Lords, the instance that was cited by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, in dealing with the Regulations for England, was the case on which I wanted to found a question. It was raised in another place by my right honourable friend the former Secretary of State for Scotland, the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirling, and the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, has exactly paraphrased (if I may use what is, I am afraid, a contradiction in terms) the case of a motorist who was trying to evade the law, and, in trying to stop him, a policeman was killed by being run against another car. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, has indicated, that he thinks that in such a case the police authority would have power under these Regulations to award a pension, and as the noble Earl, Lord Home, has said that the Regulations are to apply equally to Scotland as to England, I am perfectly satisfied that the Government's intention is that the case cited by my right honourable friend in another place is covered.


I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, except to say that that case was mentioned in rather general terms. I said that in my opinion the powers were contained in the Regulations in the way they are framed. That is, if all the circumstances were appropriate the case could fall within the Regulations. But I should not like it to go out that they definitely applied to a case which was put very vaguely, and one in which a great many circumstances have to be taken into account to decide whether it was really murder or only an accident. I can say no more than that if all the circumstances definitely pointed to a murderous intent, then I think the case would fall within the definition of the Regulation; but I should prefer to leave it to be judged on the individual case, because I believe it is impossible to draw a line without knowing the full facts of a particular case.


My Lords, in the light of what has been said by the noble Lord, I am quite satisfied to leave each case to be judged on its merits. This is not a big matter, although it is important. It was indicated in another place that the number of widows affected since the end of the war was in Scotland two and South of the border nine. So that from the point of view of the cost of making what amounts to an improvement in police conditions, this does not involve a very great sum. I am very glad indeed that there should be the will and the wish to improve the service conditions of policemen who do difficult and sometimes irksome work, and, in the vast majority of cases, do it with cheerfulness and goodwill. I do not want to be misunderstood when I say that I have had a good deal to do with the police. As a matter of fact, from time to time I have been looked after by them when I have been carrying out important duties, and it has been a pleasure to note the attention which they pay to their work. Many of them I know personally, and, speaking of them generally, I look upon them as a valuable body of men who are certainly well worthy of Un improvement of this kind in their service conditions.

On Question, Motion agreed to.