HC Deb 08 July 1913 vol 55 cc237-8W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if, despite the fact that the council obtained powers by Section 52 of the London County Council (Tramways and Improvements) Act, 1909, to remove obstructions on its tramways caused by vehicles breaking down or by loads falling from a vehicle, the council is prevented by the police from taking action under this Section with the expedition which is necessary to make the powers of any value; if his attention has been called to a case of this kind which arose at George Lane, Lewisham, on 20th June, 1913, when, owing to a collision between a motor omnibus and a motor van, the tramway service on one of the tramway tracks was delayed for 2 hours 10 minutes owing to the sub-divisional police inspector refusing to allow the vehicles to be removed until a public carriage office official had arrived on the scene; whether, as this case is typical of many other similar cases which have arisen from time to time, he will state what practical advantage is obtained by this procedure; and whether, in view of the inconvenience which arises to the public by the action of the police in such matters, he will look into the whole question and consider whether the present practice can be altered so as to place the council in a position in which it can, in the public interest, effectively exercise the powers which have been conferred by Parliament?


The Section quoted by the hon. Member confers power to remove obstructions from tramways subject to the reasonable requirements of the police. In the event of a serious accident occurring, it is in the interests, both of public safety and of justice, that an independent and responsible authority should forthwith make an examinationin situ to ascertain, if possible, the cause of the accident. The cases in which such an examination is necessary are not of frequent occurrence, and every effort is made by the police to reduce inconvenience to a minimum. I am informed that the arrangements made in the case referred to were such as to obviate real inconvenience to the tramway service, and no complaints were made to the police. As long as this duty is exercised by the police, every possible consideration will be given to the needs of the tramway services.