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Volume 2 (1922) / Pages 347 - 348
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Volume 2 / Page 347

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Wednesday, 5th April, 1922.

The House met at a quarter after Two of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

BILL PRESENTED.

Criminal Procedure Bill to make special provision for the trial of persons charged with serious crimes in Northern Ireland, and for purposes connected therewith. Presented by the Minister of Home Affairs (Sir Dawson Bates), supported by the Attorney-General, (Mr. Best)

Ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed. (Bill No. 7.)

MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE.

That they have agreed to:

Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Bill, with Amendments, to which they desire the concurrence of the Commons.

BELFAST HARBOUR BILL.

The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. Moles) reported from the Joint Committee on the Belfast Harbour Bill as followeth:

"That they had considered the said Bill and examined the allegations thereof, which were found to be true, and that the Committee had gone through the Bill and made Amendments thereto."

Ordered: "That the said Report do lie upon the Table." The Orders of the Day were read and deferred.

Report of Police Committee,

Motion FOR ADJOURNMENT.

Motion made and Question proposed: "That this House do now adjourn." (Mr. Burn).

The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (Sir Dawson Bates): In accordance with the undertaking I gave to this House at the time the Report of the Police Committee was laid on the Table I think this would be a suitable opportunity to enable hon. Members to discuss the terms of that Report. Before referring to the Report itself, I would like to take this opportunity of expressing the thanks of the Government to the Committee, and in this connection may I especially refer to the hon. Member for North Belfast (Mr. Lloyd Campbell) the Chairman of the Com

mittee for undertaking a task which was both arduous and difficult. No one except one who was on the Committee, or who was in close touch with it, could possibly realise the enormous amount of work involved, and the extent of the investigations which had to be undertaken by the Committee. The object of referring this matter to a Committee was in order that the Government might get the combined views of representative men in Ulster, so that, based on their Report, a Bill might be brought in setting up a new Police Force which would be a credit to Ulster, and which would, above all, enjoy the confidence of the community. I believe that in this Report we have these essentials.

The Report is in the hands of hon. Members, but I would like to take them, very briefly through the main recommendations. The first point to which I desire to refer is the question of pay. In 1920 a Committee was set up by the Imperial House of Commons under the chairmanship of Lord Desborough for the purpose of inquiring into the various police forces in England, Scotland, and Wales, and making certain recommendations. The result of their Report was that certain standards of pay were set up for the police forces in England, Scotland, and Wales, and these standards were subsequently adopted by the Royal Irish Constabulary. I think any hon. Members who have had any connection with the Royal Irish Constabulary will realise that up till that time the terms of pay of that force were entirely inadequate. In the Report which is now before the House it will be seen that the Committee recommend that in the new force about to be set up, and which is limited to a total of three thousand men, the pay should be the. same as that now paid to the Royal Irish Constabulary, and I suggest to this House that this is a reasonable and adequate amount. A policeman has to display many qualifications. He has, unfortunately, more especially in this country, frequently to carry his life in his hands. He has to have and this is a point which I think the public do not quite realise a good knowledge of criminal law, and, above all, know how to apply it. His occupation imposes upon him many restrictions which do not exist in the case of ordinary employment. He is liable to be called upon for duty at any time. He is restricted not alone in his mode of living but in where he lives. Therefore, having regard to the nature of his work, the pay should foe sufficiently good to attract to the Force men possessing these qualifications.

There is another reason why I suggest that this standard of pay should be adopted. It will be found that the Committee recommend that two-thirds of the Force should be recruited from the members of the Royal

 
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