HC Deb 21 September 1915 vol 74 cc336-7W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that during the winter of last year many special constables suffered in health and were put to expense as the result of exposure in the performance of their duties; that dissatisfaction exists at the measure of consideration shown to these men; and, in view of the approaching winter and of the value of the gratuitous services rendered by special constables, representing a large saving to the nation, will he say if any provision has been made or is likely to be made for supplying caps, coats, boots and leggings to those members of this force who may be desirous of availing themselves of an opportunity of obtaining these articles for use when on duty?


In so large a body of men as the London Special Constabulary there must naturally be a good many cases of illness in the course of the winter, but it must in most instances be impossible to say whether the illness was or was not due to exposure while on duty. On the part of the Police administration there is every solicitude to make the burden of service press as lightly as possible on the special constables who, as a rule, do a four hours tour of duty every three or three and a half days; and I have no reason to think any general dissatisfaction exists as to the consideration shown them. The public and the police authorities have every reason to be grateful to the special constables, and they are, I am confident, proud to render gratuitous service at this crisis. If during the course of the winter any special constables, in view of their circumstances, should be desirous of assistance in respect of articles of clothing, such applications will receive sympathetic consideration, but it has to be borne in mind that no issue of clothing could be made to the special constabulary as a whole without imposing an addition to the rates, as there is no balance available from existing income for this purpose; and such addition could not be made without legislation.