Friday, 16 November 1888.
REPORT OF SUPPLY.
Mr. PICKERSGILL moved that the House disagree with the resolution with respect to the sum of £3,300, part of the sum mentioned, being the salaries of the chief constable and assistant chief constable of the Metropolitan Police. There were four chief constables, with a maximum salary of £800 each. He desired to be perfectly frank, and not to lay upon the shoulders of Sir Charles Warren anything for which he was not responsible. After the disturbance in February, 1886, a Committee was appointed to consider whether the Metropolitan Police force should be reorganized. That Committee recommended the appointment of four chief constables, each to be in charge of one-quarter of the metropolitan area, and also made this further recommendation - that the persons selected should be men of good social position who had seen service in the Army or Navy. Sir Charles Warren seemed to have been the moving spirit of the Committee, which included Sir James Ingham, the police magistrate, Mr. Pemberton, of the Home Office, and the right hon. members for Bury and Edinburgh. He knew he should be twitted with the last name; but he was sorry that the member for Edinburgh had joined in that recommendation and thought he was wrong. He agreed with every word that fell from the right hon. member for Derby yesterday, who had throughout been consistent on this point. Sir C. Warren quickly acted upon the recommendation of the Committee, and appointed Colonel Monsell, Colonel Roberts, Major Gilbert, and Mr. Howard. We had a warning against the appointment of a military man as Chief Commissioner because the military profession was clannish, and a soldier would be sure to appoint military men to fill subordinate offices. The appointment of these chief constables had been a great mistake. There were really no duties for them to perform. The committee which sat in 1886 spoke of "the want of initiative among the superintendents and inspectors", but the appointment of these officers between them and the Chief Commissioner was not calculated to increase their initiative and independence. Each superintendent had 500 or 600 men under him. Their position ought to be strengthened, and one way of doing this would be to raise the maximum of their salaries, and impose greater responsibility upon them - not to place them in the leading strings of military officers. (Hear, hear.) Then there were two assistant-commissioners, who had been recently appointed - one Captain Knowle, an officer of the Guards, who had been placed in charge of the instruction of police recruits, and Captain Deane, who had been in Bombay from 1881 until 1886 in a Lancer regiment, and who was appointed to the command of the mounted men of the force. He had asked the Home Secretary at the time what experience these gentlemen had of police duties, and his reply had been that they had been in the cavalry and infantry respectively, as if military training gave men any knowledge of police duty. Of late the mounted police had achieved a very bad name, and they had more than once been charged, apparently upon very good ground, with riding men down. The time had come for a change in this regime under which the mounted men of the police, with an ex-Lancer at their head, rode people down in the streets, and the infantry police, instructed by an ex-officer of the Guards, batoned them. What the people of London desired was that their police should effectively detect crime, and that property should be at least as secure as in the last years of the administration of Sir Edmund Henderson.
COMMANDER BETHELL desired to consider the case of the resignation of Sir C. Warren, and to approach it through the glasses of the late Chief Commissioner rather than those of the Home Secretary. He had no complaint whatever to make of anything the Home Secretary said in relation to that resignation, for he had spoken of Sir C. Warren in proper and very high terms. The right hon. gentleman pointed out that the resignation had been accepted because the Government thought it must be made clear that the ultimate power of the police rested in the hands of the Secretary of State. That of course meant that Sir C. Warren had in some way questioned the fact of the superiority and headship of the Home Secretary. Now, he ventured to say, and to challenge contradiction, that Sir C. Warren had neither in writing nor verbally at any time questioned in any way that superiority. Moreover, in the very article to which attention had been so much drawn he had stated in so many words that the police were undoubtedly subject to the Secretary of State. And here he ventured to ask the attention of the House to the letter and memorandum read by the Home Secretary on Tuesday last. That memorandum would be sent under a covering letter, and he wanted to ask the Home Secretary if he would be good enough in his reply to read the covering letter sent in 1879 to the Commissioner of Police. He did not mean to say that the covering letter contained anything of a particularly remarkable character; but he was inclined to think it might contain a definition of what the memorandum actually meant. He had a strong suspicion that when the Home Secretary wrote the letter read in the House of Commons and referred to the memorandum he knew nothing whatever about the covering letter; and, what was more, he had an equally strong suspicion that Sir C. Warren also knew nothing about it. If, however, the covering letter did contain such an interpretation as he had suggested, it would have had this effect upon the correspondence - that, in the first place, the Home Secretary would never have written his letter to the Chief Commissioner couched in such severe terms; and that, in the second, a reply so sharp would not have been drawn from the Commissioner of Police; And that being so, although the explosion might or might not have been delayed, the article in Murray's Magazine would not have been the actual cause of the resignation.
Mr. C. GRAHAM reminded the hon. member that according to the Home Secretary himself this was not the first dispute.
COMMANDER BETHELL remarked that his hon. friend was too much in a hurry; presently he should have occasion to refer to that. Passing to the subject of the memorandum itself, he proposed at the outset to consider the relations between the Commissioner of Police and the Home Office as viewed, as he understood it, by Sir C. Warren. Those relations were governed by statute. It was laid down by one statute that the Commissioner was subject to the Secretary of State; but the important point was that the Commissioner of Police had power to make certain rules and regulations relating to the internal economy of the police, subject only to the approval of the Secretary of State, and the statute, by an implication that could not be deflected, also said that the Commissioner, and no one but the Commissioner, had power to give orders to those who were beneath him. The memorandum which the Commissioner was, by order of the Secretary of State, to make known to his men was illegal. The view of the Commissioner was that the Secretary of State had power to give directions to the Commissioner, but not to the men of the police. If the House would allow him he would like to give a character sketch of Sir C. Warren as he understood him. There were some men who undoubtedly did take an extraordinarily rigid and high view of the duty they had to perform. As soon as they believed they understood their duties they would not for any consideration neglect or overstep what they believed to be the bounds of those duties, and in them they would not allow any other person to interfere. Hon. gentlemen would have in their minds such a man as he was endeavouring to describe, and they might like or dislike such a character, and undoubtedly a character such as that did present some angularities and difficulties that did not exist in more pliant men. He should be disposed to say from his private knowledge of Sir C. Warren that that description of a man rigidly careful of his duty not unfairly described the late Chief Commissioner. He would ask the House to consider the view such a man would take when a person invaded a province in which he believed that person had no right to interfere. In his letter to the Home Secretary Sir C. Warren said he would not have accepted the post of Chief Commissioner if he had believed someone outside might interfere with his duty. In his opinion such a character was to be admired (hear, hear), and it was that of a man not to be hastily thrown aside. (Hear, hear.) Sir C. Warren then went on to say that the duties of the Chief Commissioner were governed by statute. He did not know whether he had made himself sufficiently clear to convey to the House a just and fair, though possibly, a contentious view of Sir C. Warren. (Hear, hear.) The ostensible cause of the resignation of Sir C. Warren was the article he had published in Murray's Magazine. (Mr. Matthews. - No.) He did not mean to say it was the real reason; but at least fault was found with Sir C. Warren for writing that article. He wanted to know why that article was thought to be a greater dereliction of duty than other articles which Sir C. Warren had thought fit to write to other magazines and to the papers. It was only two years ago when there was published in the Contemporary Review a very able article dealing with the dog scare then raging in the metropolis, in which Sir C. Warren clearly showed what the duties of the metropolitan police were with reference to that condition of things. Was that article censured? Never a suggestion was made that the Chief Commissioner should not have written that article, yet it was in no way different from the article in Murray's Magazine in the respect complained of. Nor was any fault found with the articles and notices Sir C. Warren had lately written with respect to the duties of the police in relation to the Whitechapel murders. If it was wrong of the Chief Commissioner to write the article in Murray's Magazine, surely it was wrong to write the other articles, every one of which was telling the public what were the duties of the metropolitan police. Hon. gentlemen might not unnaturally say there was in the tone of his letter an unnecessary vigour and assertiveness. An hon. member on the other side had interrupted him just now with the remark that that was not the first occasion on which Sir C. Warren offered his resignation. That was undoubtedly the fact. They knew it because the Home Secretary had been good enough to tell them so. But the question was, what brought about those tenders of resignation? Why had the relations between the Home Secretary and the Commissioner of Police been so disagreeable as that more than one proffer of resignation had been made by the Commissioner? A couple of years ago Sir C. Warren, when holding a command at Suakin, was telegraphed for by the right hon. gentleman opposite to come home at once to reorganize the Metropolitan Police. His services were considered so desirable that he was called home at once.
Mr. CHILDERS. - No; he was offered the appointment of Chief Commissioner.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - Am I to understand that there was nothing but a bare offer?
Mr. CHILDERS. - He was offered the appointment of Chief Commissioner of Police by telegraph, he being at a considerable distance from this country.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - He was invited to come back as quickly as might be in order to reorganize the police.
Mr. CHILDERS. - He was asked to come a quickly a possible, no doubt.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - At least we may take it that the Government had a sufficiently high opinion of his services to invite him to come and to undertake the reorganization of the police.
Mr. CHILDERS. - No; I wish to make myself quite clear. Sir C. Warren was asked by telegraph whether he would accept the office of Chief Commissioner of Police, and by telegraph he replied that he would; and then he was requested to come home immediately.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - Then the words, "reorganization of the police" did not appear?
Mr. CHILDERS. - I think not. My impression - and it is pretty clear - is that he was requested to come home and take up the duties of Chief Commissioner of Police.
COMMANDER BETHELL continued, - The point was not very important. At any rate, Sir C. Warren was to come home and take the command of the police. In such circumstances it was natural to suppose that the Government of the day and succeeding governments would, at any rate, pay great attention to any suggestion that he might make for the improvement of the police; and it would have struck anybody as an absurdity if it were suggested to them that Sir C. Warren's proposals for alterations in the police would be submitted to or criticized, not alone by the Home Secretary, but by his own subordinate officials. (Murmurs). That was what he said; and he should be curious to hear whether the Home Secretary would contradict it. If that were so he wanted to know how discipline could be maintained in any force whatever. He invited the Home Secretary to consider, in replying to that, the letter of Sir C. Warren dated, he thought, March 9, 1887, and the letter of a particular character received in March 1888. Many gentlemen opposite, he knew, disliked the views of Sir C. Warren about the discipline of the police, but he doubted whether any member on either side of the House would assert that discipline of any sort could be maintained in any force if the orders or the proposals of the commander of the corps were criticized behind his back by his own officials. He cared not whether the corps belonged to the Army, the Navy, or any other force. He said that such a thing was absolutely destructive to all discipline. The right hon. member for Derby yesterday, and in a speech in 1886, told the house what was the connexion between the Commissioner of Police and the Home Secretary, and one occasion, he thought, the right hon. gentleman said that connexion was one entirely of a personal character. The expression which he thought the right hon. member for Derby used yesterday was not less strong and not less interesting - namely, that their relations "should be those of confidential colleagues." Then, in 1886, the right hon. member for Derby spoke of the changes made about their permanent officials interfering between the Commissioner and the Secretary of State, and said that in his opinion it was absolutely untrue that permanent officials interfered in any way improperly between him and the Commissioner of Police. Now he would ask the Home Secretary whether it was not true that complaint had been made to him by the Commissioner of Police, and substantiated in correspondence, that his officials, or some officials, had taken upon themselves to respond with, and take some considerable part in the duty of the Home Secretary in relation to the Commissioner themselves, generally under cover of the Home Secretary's signature, but he believed not always. Again he said if it was true and not absolutely contradicted by the Home Secretary, when possibly a contradiction might be evoked elsewhere, he ??ed it was wonderful that there had been considerable friction between the Commissioner and the Home Secretary, and it was remarkable that such a slight thing as the publication of an article in a magazine should have brought about a resignation which had evidently been hanging over for some time. There had been a great deal about the relations which existed between Sir C. Warren and the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department. It had been assessed not by the Home Secretary nor in that House that the Criminal Investigation Department had suffered by the action of Sir C. Warren. He believed that it was an undisputed fact that Sir C. Warren did bring to the notice of the Home Secretary in correspondence some time ago this much - that the Criminal Investigation Department was suffering, was falling into confusion, because the head of that department was not able to devote his time to his legitimate duties. Any why? Because he was employed elsewhere by the Home Secretary, or by his authority. He invited the Home Secretary to contradict that statement if he wished to do so. That was all he proposed to say about the dispute between Sir C. Warren and Mr. Monro; but he did wish the assertion which he had made should be clearly understood. He had endeavoured in the observations which he had made to look at this question from a point of view which would, he believed, be occupied by Sir C. Warren. Of course, they knew perfectly well that the Home Secretary occupied a different position. His object in intervening in the debate had not been exactly to apologize - he did not think apology was necessary - nor to defend Sir C. Warren; but simply to state as clearly as possible some of the views which he believed were held by Sir C. Warren, and to endeavour to soften some of the prejudices which had existed against him in consequence of the action he had taken with regard to the letters. (Hear, hear).
Mr. CHILDERS wished to put right some of the matters which he thought had not been accurately stated, and also to explain to the House the relations between the late Commissioner of Police and himself. Referring to the observations of the hon. and gallant gentleman who had just sat down, he was anxious to state clearly what really took place when Sir C. Warren was appointed. He had no papers to refer to; but he believed that the word organization or reorganization did not occur at all in the telegram which he sent to Sir C. Warren. But it was not an important point, because undoubtedly all that passed in the first telegram was an inquiry whether Sir C. Warren would take the office. Sir C. Warren replied that he would do so; and it was possible in the reply that some such word as organization or reorganization might have been used. He said it was possible, because the word organization or reorganization appeared in the report of the first Committee which sat to consider the condition of the police in the month of March, 1886. However, there was practically no difference between him and the hon. and gallant member on that matter. He would now state to the House with what view the appointment of Sir C. Warren was made. He wished particularly to say that in appointing him he had not in view militarism in the police. He quite agreed with his right hon. friend who addressed the House on the previous day - that the police should be a civil and not a military body; and they had no idea of altering what was the well-known condition of the establishment of the police in this country. He had always, with respect to the English and Irish police, regretted the military difference, even in uniform. He found it difficult to select a successor to Sir E. Henderson. A great number of applications were addressed to him, and they were reduced to six candidates, three of whom were officers and three civilians. Sir C. Warren was ultimately selected because he appeared to be most fitted for the office. After the occurrence in February, 1886, a Committee was appointed under his authority to inquire into the origin and character of the disturbance which took place, and into the conduct of the police authorities. That Committee consisted of five, for whom four were civilians, and there was not in that committee the slightest tendency towards militarism. The committee reported among other things that the duties and the responsibilities of the superior officers of the force were not well distributed, and there was a deficiency of officers of superior rank who had not risen from the ranks to perform duties which could not well be performed by those who had so risen, and there was a lack of intercommunication between different branches of the police. A unanimous recommendation was made that the administration and organization of the police should be the subject of a further inquiry. After the making of that report and after the filling up of the office of Chief Commissioner there was a further inquiry by a committee; but on the recommendation of the first committee, for which recommendation he took his full share of responsibility, an additional number of superior officers were appointed. Sir Charles Warren was a member of the second Committee, which again consisted of five persons, of whom four were civilians, and the report was theirs rather than his. The report pointed out that for local purposes the force was practically without superior officers; that beyond the local superintendents, who were purely district officers, there were none to carry out the orders of the Chief Commissioner or to make inquiries; that there was no independent and effective inspection of the stations, and that there was a consequent lack of efficiency. It was further pointed [out] that the want of superior officers led to undue centralization in Scotland-yard, and that reports with respect to promotion came from those who had themselves been recently promoted from the ranks. For these and other reasons it was recommended that officers of superior rank should be introduced between the Chief Commissioner and the superintendent. Substantially the same recommendation had been made in 1879, but it had only been partially carried out. It was recommended, as in 1879, that the person to be appointed to the new office of Chief Constable should be a gentleman of good social standing, such as officers of the Army or Navy, but it was not recommended that they should be taken exclusively from those classes. As a matter of fact, the appointments were not made exclusively from those classes but for such positions the probability was that the best persons would be military or naval officers. He did not shrink from the responsibility of such a recommendation, coming as it did from a civilian committee, and he believed that the report in its entirety might have been carried out with advantage. He therefore could not support the view of his hon. and gallant friend. It would take things back to a system which had distinctly broken down He was very sorry that he could not agree with what had fallen from the hon. and gallant gentleman in respect to the duties of the Chief Commissioner in obedience to commands.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - I said that the Commissioner had never questioned the power or the superiority of the Secretary of State.
Mr. CHILDERS said that the Home Secretary would be better able to deal with that point; but he maintained that the doctrine contained in the letter of Sir C. Warren in reply to the letter of the Secretary of State was a doctrine which would be fatal to proper control. He was sorry for Sir Charles Warren; for he had followed his work in other departments and well knew his high qualities and character. But it would be practically impossible for any force to be carried on under the Parliamentary system of this country if the Chief Commissioner were to govern himself on the principle laid down in his letter. He wished to say that neither in the selection of Sir Charles Warren, nor in the instructions given to him, nor in the two inquiries which had been held, had there been the least intention of departing from those principles of civil administration of the police which he believed to be essential to its efficiency. (Hear, hear.) He was sure from the approval which the Secretary of State had given to his right hon. friend that the Government was of the same opinion; and whoever might be selected for the office of Chief Commissioner, he hoped the Home Secretary would not be too hurried in making the selection, which was probably the most difficult that a Minister had to make.
Mr. MATTHEWS said that he regretted a little that the hon. and gallant gentleman had made the speech to which the House had listened. He himself desired, in connexion with Sir Charles Warren and the police, to say nothing disagreeable to the last Commissioner or to the hon. and gallant gentleman who had spoken for him. But he must perforce, in answering the observations that had been made, say some few words which might not be agreeable to Sir Charles Warren. It was not his fault or of his own seeking, however. The first view that the hon. gentleman had taken was that the Secretary of State who had issued the minute of 1879 - and here he felt his hands to be more free, as it was no action of his - had committed an illegal act.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - That is my opinion and not Sir Charles's.
Mr. MATTHEWS said that the theory put forward was that the Home Office circular addressed to all officers of the Home Department and sent to the Chief Commissioner of Police was, first illegal, and, secondly, somewhat qualified by a covering letter. To assert that the minute of 1879 was ultra vires and illegal on the part of the Secretary of State was precisely to assert that principle which Her Majesty's Government could not admit, and which they regarded as so destructive to the whole constitutional position of the police force that they could not allow it to pass unquestioned for a moment. (Hear, hear.) It was absurd to say that the members of the police force were to be free without any check whatever to carry on in newspapers or magazines publications relating to their department. If the privilege were given to the Chief Commissioner it would have to be given to the Assistant-Commissioner and so on; and there might be carried on controversies on mob influence, public meetings, the way in which they were to be met and handled, and the duties which the police had to discharge, in which the Chief Commissioner and the Assistant-Commissioner took up opposite views; and the doctrine of the hon. and gallant gentleman was that the Secretary of State should stand by and witness this wordy warfare without power to interfere. (Hear, hear.) The point that the circular was in some way qualified by the covering letter of a clerk was certainly a very subtle one - far more legal than military - but it was a very untenable point. (Hear, hear.) A covering letter of some clerk, probably some junior clerk, could have no such effect. (Hear, hear.) His hon. and gallant friend drew this rusty weapon, and then proceeded to ask whether the recent article of Sir C. Warren was any worse than any other articles written previously. Unfortunately, his other occupations were such that he could not pretend to have read the previous articles or letters that appeared in newspapers and magazines. The character of those articles, if there were such, was quite unknown to him. The hon. and gallant gentleman said that Sir C. Warren wrote an article on dogs, and that that was passed over in silence. He did not know that such an article was written. He must plead peccavi to that charge. (Laughter.) But he did not see how an article on dogs related to the administration of the Police Department. (Hear, hear.) His hon. and learned friend asked him to say whether he considered the article recently written. That was not the point. Probably it might have escaped his notice altogether, if his attention had not been called to it, but then he did read it to see whether it was in accordance with the rules of the Civil Service. He was challenged by question in the House to say whether it was, and he looked to see whether the article transgressed the rule by discussing the administration of the department. That it did so no one could for a moment deny. (Hear, hear.) It even went so far as to suggest what should be the future policy when county councils were established, and it touched points affecting questions of the highest importance in police administration. The observations in that article might be well founded. That was not the point. He could not help admitting in the House that the article did transgress the rule. The next point made by his hon. and gallant friend was that he acted in an unnecessarily severe and abrupt manner.
COMMANDER BETHELL. - No.
Mr. MATTHEWS said, with regard to that, he did not think he should be committing any breach of confidence if he stated that it would be a mistake to suppose that the letter of the 8th of November was the first and only communication with Sir C. Warren on the point. There were other communications with Sir C. Warren before that official communication. The next point was that the answer of the Commissioner in no way questioned or disputed the authority of the Secretary of State. The hon. and gallant gentleman could not have read the letter very carefully, or he would not have said that. After receiving a letter containing instructions on this point, the Commissioner of Police writes that the Secretary of State has no power of issuing orders for the police force, and adds:- " I desire to say that I entirely decline to accept these instructions." That was altogether setting at nought the instructions of the Secretary of State on this subject. (Hear, hear.) The hon. and gallant gentleman has spoken of the spirit of independence shown by Sir C. Warren, and his determination not to resign anything of what he considered his just rights. He did not deny the admirable and courageous aspect that such a character presented; but at the same time it was one that did not tend to easy official intercourse. (Hear.) The hon. and gallant gentleman asked him to say whether Sir C. Warren did not complain of other persons than the Home Secretary corresponding with him under the cover of the name of the Home Secretary. That was quite true. Sir C. Warren did complain of this, and he complained with much acrimony. Any department such as the Home Office must have to deal with a variety of matters in the way of business by means of its permanent officials. No Secretary of State could of himself dispose of them all. He would undertake to say that since Sir C. Warren had been Chief Commissioner of Police the communications with regard to the force had greatly exceeded in number those received in former days. Every one of these required investigation and examination of various kinds, and it would have been simply impossible for the Secretary of State in person to deal with them all. These remarks would apply, not only to the Home Office, but to the Colonial Office, the India Office, and every other office. The heads of departments must conduct the greater portion of their business through the permanent officials.
Mr. JOHNSTON rose to order. He wished to know whether the right hon. gentleman was not out of order in turning his back to the Chair. (Laughter.)
The SPEAKER having taken no notice of the interruption.
Mr. MATTHEWS proceeded to observe that Sir C. Warren had, over and over again, raised the extraordinary contention that letters and communications which came to him signed by the Under-Secretary or the permanent officials had no binding force upon him. It would be impossible to conduct public business if such a contention were allowed. (Hear, hear.) The Under-Secretary and the permanent officials acted as representatives of the Secretary of State, and if their communications were disputed the whole order of public life and the conduct of public business would be at an end. Over and over again he had tried to quell that resistance, sometimes in one way, sometimes in another. Over and over again he had asserted the doctrine that the Under-Secretary represented the Secretary of State.
COMMANDER BETHELL said that he referred to communications of a material character. Mr. MATTHEWS said, that according to the ordinary forms which had been in existence before he or Sir C. Warren was born, various communications were signed by the Under-Secretary or the permanent officials, and if any officer, however elevated his station, were to assert that the communications he received so signed were impertinent, it would be totally subversive of discipline and order. Another point was this. His hon. and gallant friend had asked whether he would deny that Sir C. Warren's plan of reorganization had been submitted to and criticized by subordinate officials. He understood that the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police was thus referred to. The Receiver of the Metropolitan Police was, by statute, and officer perfectly independent of the Chief Commissioner of Police and having a secretary of his own. He was considered the chancellor of exchequer and financial adviser of the Secretary of State, and it was his business to assist the Secretary of State in checking and controlling the expenditure of the Metropolitan Police - a difficult matter enough. (Hear, hear.) In his transactions, opinions, and conduct he was independent of everybody except the Secretary of State. That view was perfectly sound; in practice it was indisputable and was a necessity of official life. He regretted to say that it was a view which Sir C. Warren had persistently disputed and denied. As a matter of course, when any communication of the Commissioner of Police affected or caused expenditure, it had been the invariable practice of the Home Office to refer the proposal to the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police for his observations. He was the financial officer who had to correct every estimate and to pay every officer of the force, and it was not only the right, but the duty of the Secretary of State to refer every matter involving expenditure to him. That was a point which no one had disputed until Sir C. Warren disputed it and treated as an indignity that his proposals should be submitted to the Receiver of the Police. It was also true that Sir C. Warren always insisted that his relation to the Home Office was something like the relation of separated Ireland to the rest of the Empire (a laugh) - that it was purely one of subordination to the personal authority of the Secretary of State. He assured his hon. friend that he had not said that the Criminal Investigation Department had suffered from the action of Sir Charles Warren. He did not believe that it had suffered from the action of any one; he believed that it was as good as it ever was. No doubt in this matter, as in other matters, Sir Charles Warren claimed to exercise, desired to exercise, began to exercise more immediate and personal control than had been thought of by his predecessors. In his judgement that was his right under the statute; the department was subject to his superintendence and control, and he was entitled to the fullest information, aye, and interference. His position on that subject had always been to this effect, and since the utmost right of superintendence and control which he thought fit to exercise belonged properly to Sir C. Warren, he could not interfere or hamper him in the slightest degree. He uttered no word of criticism about it; but he believed that, as far as he knew, no change whatever had taken place in the relations between the Home Office and the Department of Police since Sir C. Warren had taken over the office of Chief Commissioner. The same practice, the same procedure, the same relations, the same form of communication, the same mode of administration had been followed in the last two-and-a-half years as were followed from the creation of the department. He had taken special pains to inquire whether any modification had taken place in the way in which instructions were conveyed, in the submission of proposals, in the manner in which letters were minuted, and ultimately answered and dealt with; and he was assured by those who had been in the department long before he had appeared there, that there was not the slightest change in the relations which were found peaceable and acceptable to every former Commissioner of Police. No change whatever had been made with regard to the Chief Commissioner and the Home Office; he had been dealt with precisely as every former Commissioner had been dealt with. He had been treated, so far as the Home Office was concerned, with exceptional consideration, inasmuch as a vast number of requisitions and requests proceeded from him. His activity since he had been at the head of the police had been admirable; there was no department of it which he was not seeking to improve. The amount of correspondence and the plans which had to be considered, sanctioned, or reversed, were extraordinarily great, and not one of his proposals met with anything but acceptance after a little consideration and delay. An hon. member had referred to the Assistant Commissioner; but the picture which he had drawn of that officer riding about the streets at the head of mounted men was the creation of his own fancy. The Assistant Commissioner never went out at the head of the mounted police. He had to deal with matters of organization which a cavalry officer was well qualified to undertake; but he had nothing to do with the conduct of the force. (Cheers.) Mr. STUART thought that the resumption of the debate had been of great public value, since it had called forth from both sides of the House an absolute repudiation of the claims made by Sir C. Warren for complete independence. He wished to receive a reply to the criticisms he had passed on the financial condition of the police force in London.
Mr. J. ROWLANDS differed from the right hon. member for Edinburgh in two respects. The report said that persons of superior social position should be appointed chief constables. To that he strongly objected. Whenever there was a responsible post with a large salary some superior person was always put over the heads of those who, by long service and experience, had fitted themselves for it. This constituted the weakness of the whole report. Then the member for Edinburgh expressed the opinion that the assignment of districts to the four chief constables had effected an improvement. That also he denied. Each superintendent ought to be responsible for his own district, and there ought to be nobody between him and the Chief Commissioner. The new method led to excessive centralization. Again, he protested against the multiplication of mounted police, who were of no use for the prevention and detection of crime, and were much less serviceable in clearing the streets of mobs than ordinary constables. The recent disturbance at Clerkenwell-green would never have happened if there had been no mounted police. They trusted that such a change would now be made in the organization of the police as would bring back the old feeling between the people and the police as it existed in times gone by.
Mr. C. GRAHAM, although differing from the hon. and gallant member for the Holderness Division with regard to the public performances of Sir C. Warren, had formed almost the same estimate of the late Chief Commissioner's private character. He felt compassion for the Home Secretary in the difficult task he had had to exercise during the last year in keeping Sir C. Warren in order. Perhaps he should not himself have added his mite to increase the right hon. gentleman's difficulties had he known the constant wrangle and dispute that went on at the Home Office between the Home Secretary and his Chief Commissioner. It was something to remember that Sir C. Warren was not appointed by a Conservative but by a Liberal Government out of a slavish panic that arose in London when a few windows were broken. A Liberal Government which paraded the country as the friends of the poor on the first occasion when the unemployed assembled in Trafalgar-square to cry for bread were the first to send to Suakin for a military man in order to put them down. (Hear, hear.) He often wished that the galleries of the House were larger, in order that the people of the country who were appealed to by the chiefs of the Liberal party at election times could mark the difference between their platform and their Parliamentary appearances. (Ministerial laughter and cheers.) If they looked for justice and protection from the chiefs of the Liberal party in this matter they would indeed rely on a broken reed. (Laughter.) It did not matter if a man was trampled down in London - a man had got to be an Irishman before any one would stand up for him. (Laughter.) It was a very strange thing that the sympathies of the leaders of his party could be evoked only when capital was to be made out of it. (Ministerial cheers.) He meant political capital, such capital as would enable them to ride into office upon some popular cry - on the wave of popular opinion he supposed they would call it - and change places with the right hon. gentlemen opposite. He could assure them that when they did so it would not be on the wave of popular opinion on the part of the people of London, but from mere weariness and a desire to change something bad for something that might not be much worse. (Laughter.) He would remind the Home Secretary that in the many statements he had made to him he had not always charged the police with being the aggressors. He had not said that the police had always acted in a brutal or barbarous way, but on many occasions both horses and men of the mounted police had appeared to be strangely out of control, and apparently a state of things appeared to exist among the mounted men which could not be accounted for by the appointment of a cavalry officer to command them. He would press upon his Liberal friends to come to a division at once in order that the people of London might see that the Liberal party was in earnest about something. (Laughter.)The house divided -
The amendment was therefore lost.
Mr. LAWSON thought that the house had a right to ask for some explanation with regard to the financial aspect of the police question.
Mr. STUART WORTLEY said that, having been engaged on other Estimates all the evening, he could not upon the instant deal adequately with the facts as to the financial side of the police question; but he might say that he questioned the accuracy of the calculations made by the hon. member from Shoreditch. The years which had been chosen for the comparisons of the hon. member were years in which there had been extraordinary expenditure on account of the London police, including a great increase in the number of visitors to the metropolis, and the purchase of a costly site for new offices in addition to the rent of old offices.
Mr. STUART contended that he had taken fair average years, and that the returns for a series of years showed that the expenditure had been constantly increasing in a greater ratio than the population. He quoted a series of figures to show this. So as to give the hon. gentlemen an opportunity of looking into the figures, he would move the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. CONYBEARE seconded the motion.
The house divided, and the numbers were -
For the adjournment of debate 25
Against ... ... ... 116
Majority ... ... ... -91
Mr. W. H. SMITH appealed to hon. gentlemen to allow the vote to be taken. If there was a great increase in the expenditure, it was not one for which the present Government or the late Government were responsible. It was owing to representations which had been made to the Home Office. He could assure the hon. members that the subject would be carefully examined by the Home Secretary, and no expense would be incurred which could be avoided.
In reply to Mr. STUART,
Mr. MATTHEWS said he had appointed a Committee some months ago to review the whole of the financial relations of the police, and the growth of expenditure.
Mr. STUART thought it was clear that the Government had not studied the figures. He did not being this matter forward against the present Government, but against the administration of the metropolitan police force without popular control.
The resolution was then agreed to.
|Dissertations: Charles Warren in Africa|
|Dissertations: Sir Charles Warren and the Bloodhounds|
|Message Boards: Charles Warren|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 12 1888|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 13 1888|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 15 1888|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 20 1888|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 26 1888|
|Official Documents: Parliamentary Debates - November 8 1888|
|Official Documents: Warren's Report to the Home Secretary - 6 November 1888|
|Police Officials: Sir Charles Warren|
|Police Officials: Who Killed Cock Warren?|
|Press Reports: Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser - 16 November 1888|
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|Ripper Media: Sir Charles Warren - Biographical Sketch (1902)|