Clause 10. — (PowERS OF WATER BAILIFFS.)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Lanark 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

I beg to move, in page 3, line 36, to leave out from "which," to the end of line 38, and to insert: there is reasonable cause to suspect of being used in committing an offence against this Act. At one time, we thought that it was not worth while moving this Amendment, but perhaps it suggests a wider form of words which might be acceptable to the Secretary of State. The Clause at present says: reasonable cause to suspect of containing salmon or trout"; and we suggest reasonable cause to suspect of being used in committing an offence. It is a slightly wider form of words, and the Amendment has only been put down in case the Secretary of State should prefer it.

Mr. McNeil:

Yes, I am in agreement. I have had a look at this, and while I want to follow very closely the wording of the previous Act—and I am not sure that we should not stick to it—all I want to say is that I can see there is a case for changing the wording after "reasonable cause to suspect." However, as the noble Lord inferred, there are places where a boat may be used in estuary fishing, and where it would be easy to establish whether there was reasonable cause to suspect that it did contain salmon. I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite, to whom I acknowledge my debt, will permit me to look at this point between now and the Report stage.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

May I ask whether the Clause, as it will read when amended, will include the power to stop and search motor boats which are not actually used for fishing, though perhaps they may be? I would call attention to the Maconochie Report, in paragraph 31 of which it is stated: In this connection we wish to draw attention to the very prevalent use of motor boats by poachers, particularly on the north-west coast and in the Islands. I would simply ask whether the revised wording would give this power.

Mr. McNeil:

I am assured that the Clause as it stands would cover any boat suspected of carrying salmon or trout.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I do not know what is the question you are about to put, Mr. Mathers, and whether it relates to the Amendment in the names of my right hon. Friends or that in my own name.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , West Lothian

It is necessary for me to put the Amendment in this form in order to save the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Macpherson). The question is, "That the word 'is' stand part of the Clause."

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , West Lothian

The hon. Gentleman is not being asked to move anything. The Amendment which I am putting is that in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Stuart).

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Lanark

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, in view of the assurance given by the Secretary of State.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

On a point of order. As I understand, from what the Secretary of State has said, that the point of the Amendment standing in my name—in page 3, line 36, after "is," to insert, "or may be"—is fully covered already by this Amendment, I therefore do not propose to move it.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , West Lothian

If the hon. Gentleman does not move the Amendment, I shall not, of course, put it. I pass on to the next Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Midlothian and Peebles (Mr. Pryde).

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

I beg to move, in page 3, line 39, to leave out paragraph (c).

I should like to ask if it will be possible to discuss together all five of the Amendments standing in my name; that is, this Amendment and those in page 3, line 43, leave out paragraph (d); page 4, line 1, leave out subsection (2); page 4, line 4, leave out subsection (3); and to page 4, line 14, leave out subsection (5).

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , West Lothian

That is quite in order. I will put them separately if it is necessary.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

The question here concerns the powers of water bailiffs under this Bill, and I claim that they are out of all proportion to the necessity of the situation. I think it is perfectly true to say that if any of our people are caught, they will smile and say "It's a fair cop by the police. There is no reason why I should not go and plead guilty." On the other hand, according to a circular which I think most Scottish Members have received, there is a tendency on the part of poachers to fight, and here I think that the whole set-up of the water bailiffs is unnecessary in this country.

I think it is absolutely necessary for every able-bodied man today to be engaged in industry. In Peebles, we are closing agricultural hostels and even bringing European Voluntary Workers into industry. I do not pretend that there is not a need for river watchers, but I consider that this job could be done by elderly men who are no longer fit for industry and who could be equipped with "walkie-talkie" apparatus in order to get into immediate communication with the police. The police force is the only civilian instrument that can be used in our country for the enforcement of the law.

Under paragraphs (c) and (d) and in lines 1, 4 and 14 on page 4, and under subsections (2), (3), and (5), on page 4, lines 2, 20 and 24, we find that these water bailiffs are given powers which I think are a reflection on this Committee and require some explanation. For instance, subsection (2) says: Any water bailiff may exercise in any district adjoining that of the district board by which he was appointed any power which he may lawfully exercise in the district of such board. That is giving a water bailiff carte blanche to leave the Tweed and to come into Midlothian, which is the district adjoining his board. I would point out that I have made no reference to subsection (4) because I think that is the only substantial part of the clause which is constructive and progressive. It says: Any constable may exercise in relation to any water any of the powers specified in subsection (1) of this section. The right hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Stuart) mentioned some correspondence in "The Scotsman." I noted that correspondence, and I noted, too, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. A 19-year-old apprentice engineer made butcher's meat of the fools who rushed in, because he pointed out that water bailiffs were not the kindly considerate people that some tried to suggest.

I wonder whether my own experience of a water bailiff would be instructive or illuminating to this Committee? One summer day, two of us were fishing a tributary of the Tweed and we had 15 minutes to wait on the bus, having caught nothing, but having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a nice summer day, and we had been working all the week in bad air and gelignite fumes in the pit, and desired to get out into the country. As I say, we had 15 minutes to wait on the bus, and the man with me decided to go over to the plantation. He was a very good boxer in his day; he was the late Andrew Blake of the Black Watch, and he had fought all over the world. While I was waiting for him, along came a great big man. He said to me, "Been fishing?" I replied, "Yes." He asked where, and I told him, whereupon, with a lot of unnecessary adjectives, he told me that we were poachers. I protested and said that we had not been poaching, but fishing legally. By this time my friend had come back and he said to the man, "I am going to thump you up and down this road." That man made off down the road at a speed which would have beaten the recent Powderhall winner. I looked at Blake and said, "Do you know him, Andrew?" "Know him," he said, "I should think I do; he is the water bailiff." "But what caused him to take up an attitude like that," I asked. "Oh," my friend replied. "that is his stock in trade." I am not going to say that all water bailiffs are like that, but, invested with the arbitrary and wide powers which this Bill will confer upon them, I do suggest that they are going to be a danger to the average angler. I would ask my right hon. Friend to have another look at this and not to divert local labour required in the national interest to the protection of salmon. According to the same correspondence in "The Scotsman," we find a new term in regard to riparian proprietors; we find them called "salmon proprietors." I have heard of hotel proprietors, but never before of salmon proprietors. "The Scotsman," of course, is a very instructive and thoroughly reliable journal, but I hope and trust that on this occasion my right hon. Friend will review the powers with which it is proposed to invest water bailiffs under this Bill.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. McNeil:

I quite understand, of course, my hon. Friend's anxiety about water bailiffs. The water bailiff is like the policeman, an object of scorn, suspicion and joke by every fellow who touches a rod, but very rarely, I am glad to say, of attack. My hon. Friend seems to be trying to persuade the Committee that if we turned the water bailiffs on to the fields and let the rivers look after themselves, we would find the purposes of this Bill greatly advanced.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

I think I made it perfectly clear that I recognised the need for river watchers, and suggested how it could be done.

Mr. McNeil:

I am sorry to say that the speech which my hon. Friend thought fit to make on Second Reading has not found favour with either the Government or, indeed, with any section of the Committee, and I must address my remarks to the Bill as it stands. My hon. Friend suggests that we should strip the water bailiffs of their power, several examples of which he has given. In the speech he has just made in his usual reasonable and genial way he has suggested that we would be better without water bailiffs.

I would suggest, in passing, that the dispersal of the European voluntary workers is not due to any particular departure of policy by us, but to the simple fact, of which I think he is aware, that these men have finished the contract under which they came to our country. Some of them are going into industry and others are making contracts with the farmers in the normal labour fashion. But as we have the Bill, we must have the bailiffs, and, if the bailiffs are to do the job, we must give them the necessary powers.

This Bill does not confer upon them any great extension of their powers. Paragraphs (c) and (d), to which my hon. Friend objects, confirm the existing position. His next Amendment, in page 4, line 1, seeks to leave out subsection (2) which, as he says, reads: Any water bailiff may exercise in any district adjoining that of the district board by which he was appointed any power which he may lawfully exercise in the district of such hoard I suggest that those words are eminently reasonable. If a group of men are poaching when the bailiff comes along, and if all they require to do is to step across the line, the road or the bridge into the area adjoining, and by that simple method escape all the consequences of the Bill, then we shall look very foolish indeed. It is reasonable to assume that the bailiff will sometimes try to pursue the people whom he has come upon in the act of poaching. I should think it was quite reasonable to expect, not that he could pursue them over the countryside, and not that he should be endowed with the powers of a policeman, but that he should be able to exert himself in the performance of his duty.

My hon. Friend was good enough and considerate enough to the Committee not to pursue in detail his other Amendments, and, therefore, I will not seek to tire the Committee by doing so. All I would say is that except in relation to the adjoining area and except in relation to vehicles which he suspects, the water bailiff is not endowed under the Bill with any new powers and neither is he endowed anywhere, I suggest, with any unreasonable powers. However, if anyone found a water bailiff exceeding his brief, using his powers unfairly, he would have the normal redress of any citizen. He could pursue that water bailiff in the civil courts, and it is reasonable to assume that those courts would not be untender towards such a person.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

Suppose he could not produce a witness?

Mr. McNeil:

He would have to satisfy the court, as we all have to satisfy the court in sustaining a claim for damages. If he were badly used one would expect the court to listen to him fairly and patiently. I hope that my hon. Friend, who has already made plain his distaste of water bailiffs, will not pursue his Amendment, because no substitute for the water bailiff is suggested and unless a very substantial proportion of our police force is to be diverted the Bill would be endangered.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I beg to move, in page 4, line 15, to leave out "any water," and to insert: such water or waters as may be specified in the instrument of his appointment purport- ing to be signed by or on behalf of the Secretary of State. Perhaps I might also discuss the next Amendment, in line 17, to leave out from "the" to "shall," in line 18, and to insert "said instrument." Will that be convenient?

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

The Committee will always want to look with great care at the creation of any new body of men armed with powers, which is what this subsection does, especially when these people are later described in the Bill as "officers"—although I am aware that it is proposed to try to change the term "officers" to "persons"—and especially when such a body appears from the wording to be given powers to go anywhere in the land. The Wording is quite clear: Any person appointed by the Secretary of State in that behalf may exercise in relation to any water any of the powers. That follows Any constable may exercise in relation to any water any of the powers. Just as any constable can go anywhere, so, obviously, can any person go anywhere.

The argument I wish to submit to the Committee is that it would certainly appear desirable that those powers should be limited to particular waters. I am not certain, but the wording may permit these appointments to be limited to particular waters, although it does not appear that that is so from the wording as it stands. I suggest it would plainly be undesirable to have a class of supernumary water bailiffs for the country as a whole ready to be despatched to any areas which seem to be particularly marauded for the time being by gangs of poachers. What would be the effect of that? Surely the effect would be that as soon as these new faces appeared the gangs of poachers would move out. The right course must be to appoint local people for a local job, men who will be able to supplement the work of water bailiffs, who will know the inhabitants of the place and will know when new faces appear.

It is generally agreed that the constables are too few for the job that has to be performed. It is also agreed that the water bailiffs are not sufficiently numerous in the country as a whole; in some places they are almost non-existent. The best thing would be to arrange to have these special nominees or appointees of the Secretary of State added where these conditions exist, particularly as it is now being made so much more difficult for the district boards themselves to provide sufficient water bailiffs. The cost of employing water bailiffs has gone up remarkably. The revenues receivable by the water boards will be going down as a result of the Bill, as they will no longer be getting the fines, and so on. It is therefore important that whoever is appointed should be appointed for a particular job are should not be given powers to roam at large, both because it is undesirable in general to appoint a fresh class of people with powers to roam at large and because the job will be done much more efficiently by people appointed for the job to look after the particular locality.

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

I hope the hon. Gentleman will not press his Amendment. He wants to be sure, I think, that the persons appointed by the Secretary of State will not wander all over Scotland but will confine their activities to particular rivers. In the first place, it is desirable that there should be a power given to the Secretary of State to appoint persons who may do the job normally done by water bailiffs, because there are some quite important rivers in Scotland with salmon in them, on which there are no water bailiffs at all, and for which there is no district board. So the desirability of the Secretary of State having the power to appoint is. I think, accepted by all.

On reflection the hon. Gentleman probably would not want the Secretary of State to be restricted in any way in his appointment of persons, and he would want those persons appointed by the Secretary of State to be of the greatest assistance in controlling crime or in assisting the responsible authorities where offences under this Bill are being committed on a large scale. As the subsection is drafted, the Secretary of State can restrict the area of operation of any person appointed by him, and I think that normally it would be desirable to do so.

There may, however, be exceptional circumstances, as there have been in recent years. In recent years there has been exceptional poaching in some parts of the country, and if these powers had existed it might be that the Secretary of State could have assisted in some areas where the policing is less than is desirable, or found not able to deal with the extent of the offences. He would have sent persons to assist. It would frequently be helpful to have persons who would normally do this work, and we would not have to rely upon people appointed specially in the area to deal with such circumstances.

Under the subsection as drafted the Secretary of State has power to restrict the area of operation of any person appointed by him. We would prefer not to be pressed to accept this Amendment, which would mean that the person would necessarily have to have his area of operation expressly set out in the instrument of appointment, and that he would not be able to go beyond that area.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

Is it the intention, as a general rule, to make appointments for particular areas, or is it the intention to create a kind of river police, uniformed or otherwise?

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

The normal procedure would be to appoint persons for a particular area and particular waters. Indeed, the subsection is made necessary chiefly because of the fact that we have important salmon rivers in Scotland with no fishery boards and no water bailiffs to look after them. The only person there to keep control would be the constable, if there was not this power of appointment by the Secretary of State, and it will be in these areas that the Secretary of State will normally appoint persons to operate within these areas alone. They would not be a sort of river police to be sent all over the country. They would be for particular areas, mainly where there are no water bailiffs at present.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

Would it not be desirable to augment the police to the extent necessary to do this work?

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

I think that it would need very considerable augmentation of the police force to do this work. Think of the county of Sutherland, which covers many thousands of miles and has a population of 13,000 or 14,000. It has only a very small police force to do the police work of that county. and if the whole of the work normally done by the river bailiffs was to be undertaken by the police force, very considerable augmentation of the police force would be necessary. I do not think that the local authority and the people who live in the county would be favourably disposed to such a proposition.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

I am thinking of the county of Peebles.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I do not necessarily object in any way to the procedure proposed under the Bill and on the lines indicated by the Under-Secretary of State, but before they presented and printed the Bill the Government must have had some idea in mind as to the extent of this new power and appointment of new people. In the Financial and Explanatory Memorandum at the beginning of the Bill it is stated that as a result of functions imposed upon the Secretary of State by the Bill the expense is likely to be very small.

Is it, therefore, intended only to appoint two or three of these people, or is it intended to have a regular staff? Are they to be in some form of rural uniform, or what is the intention lying behind it? I am asking for information and not by way of criticism. This new thing, which we did not understand when the Second Reading of the Bill was taking place, so far as we can make out is a good thing to experiment with, particularly in areas where, as the Under-Secretary has said, there are no district fishery boards and very few policemen available.

It may be that this extra addition to the defence forces against salmon poaching will be of very great use, but, at the same time, in the interests of the general public and of the liberty of the subjects in this country, I feel that the warrant which the official gets, whatever he is called, could be as clearly defined as possible. The Under-Secretary may not wish to have that written into the Bill, but the warrant should be quite clear and limit the powers given as much as possible, because we do not want the power of the State to interfere too much with the liberties of the subject.

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

I hope that I shall be able to convince the Committee that we have no intention of appointing an army of officials who might be described as river police or given some other designation. What we have in mind in particular—I repeat myself in saying this—are the rivers which are not supervised by the district fishery boards. We think that if the Bill, when it becomes an Act, is to be successfully operated, it will be necessary for the Secretary of State to appoint some small number of persons to do the job which would otherwise be beyond the capacity of the police to do.

These persons—I cannot anticipate the number but the number will certainly be small—will not, of course, be given a policeman's uniform, but they will be given a proper instrument of appointment. They will have to prove to any person they arrest or question that they are properly appointed persons. I do not think that there is anything more which I can say on this matter. I repeat that we cannot possibly anticipate how many will be required to be appointed. Within the areas of the district boards where there are water bailiffs at present it may be necessary to augment the number from time to time. Before we appoint any person in those areas there will be consultations with the district boards concerned. By and large, we think that the persons appointed by the Secretary of State will have their operations confined to those areas in which there are no district boards.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

In consultation with the local authorities?

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

I thought that was taken for granted.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

To whom would these people appointed be directly responsible? Presumably, there would be some intermediary authority. Would it be the district board or a higher board?

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

Normally, they would operate'in areas where there was not a district board, so the only person to whom they would be responsible would be the Secretary of State and his Fishery Department.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

In view of the explanation given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr James Stuart Mr James Stuart , Moray and Nairnshire

I beg to move, in page 4, line 19, at the end, to insert: (6) Any person appointed by a Chief Constable in that behalf may exercise in relation to any water any of the powers specified in subsection (1) of this section, are the production of the instrument of his appointment purporting to be signed by a Chief Constable shall be a sufficient warrant for the exercise of any such power. I realise that the discussion which has just taken place covers, to some extent, the ground of the Amendment which I are my hon. Friends have put down. Our Amendment, I hope, will be agreed by the Government as helping to achieve the objectives which the Bill has in mind are about which the Under-Secretary has been speaking. It is admitted that there are not river boards everywhere are, therefore, there are no water bailiffs working under those boards. It is admitted that poaching takes place as far as possible away from the places where the people concerned are likely to be caught.

It is also admitted that in some of the scattered districts one constable has a wide area to cover are his duties are not confined by any means to looking out for poachers. Therefore, what we suggest —are I think this is a sound Amendment are one upon which I lay considerable store—is that the chief constable who knows the area, should be in a position to appoint people who will be able to exercise the powers which, under the Bill, are to be given to police constables are water bailiffs.

There is very strong support for this Amendment. I might add that the Maconochie Committee deal with this in their Report. They refer to it on two occasions, are I shall read a few words from each paragraph. The Report, in paragraph 33, states: Any persons authorised for the purpose by the Chief Constables, such as, for instance, Superintendents or Inspectors in the employment of District Boards, or, where no Boards have been constituted, such persons as the Chief Constable may, in the exercise of his discretion, see fit to appoint. Paragraph 68, dealing with seareh of suspected persons are vehicles, states: We further recommend that—(iii) the powers of seareh which the Section meantime confers on any constable or peace officer should be amended are extended to any constable or any person authorised by a Chief Constable. He will, no doubt, be prepared to consider conferring the powers of search on senior and responsible water bailiffs in districts where Boards exist; where they do not, we think it probable that he will be disposed to confer the powers on dependable persons who may be relied upon to assist the already over-worked police. That is really the main case I have to make.

As I have said, we lay considerable store by this Amendment, because our object is to help in this matter and to see the Bill in a form in which it can operate satisfactorily. A chief constable must obviously be a responsible person, otherwise he would not be a chief constable. They can be depended upon to appoint people suitable to carry out these duties, which would relieve the Secretary of State to some extent. I do not mean that his powers would be curbed, but that he would be relieved to some degree if chief constables were authorised to do this.

My other particular reason for advocating this is that chief constables know the type of people who can be relied upon to carry out the work. They know a lot of the people who live in these comparatively scattered areas, and they can get the best advice as to the best persons to assist them in seeing that the provisions contained in the Bill and effectively carried out.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Edinburgh East

I appreciate the purpose behind the Amendment, but I invite the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. J. Stuart) to consider its scope. We and seeking here to extend the powers of search of certain persons. That is a power which is normally carried out by an authorised member of the police force in uniform. We and getting on to very difficult ground if we and to extend this power to private persons whose only authority is the badge or warrant of their appointment. I do not think either side would be anxious to extend the power of "lay search." I do not think the Committee would wish to give this power to too many lay persons.

It is true that the Committee suggested that this power should be given to persons nominated by chief constables. On the other hand, that was not extended to appointments made by the district boards. What we have done is to give power to the district boards to make appointments, and where there and no boards the Secretary of State can make similar appointments. Moreover, the Secretary of State can make appointments, where there is a district board, if it is necessary to increase the existing force. As I said, I do not think the Committee would wish to give these rather extreme powers of search to too many lay appointees, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the matter from that point of view.

I presume that where there are district boards they will employ a number of bailiffs, and that if they find they are not sufficient for the purpose they will apply to the Secretary of State to exercise his powers and make further appointments. The Secretary of State will undoubtedly give full consideration to any representations, and in making appointments he will take into consultation the people in the area best able to give advice on the matter.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Lanark

These extra people appointed at the request of the boards will not, I take it, be under the direct authority of the Secretary of State but of the boards.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Edinburgh East

If they are appointed by the Secretary of State they will be under his authority and will be responsible to him; but that is more academic than real, because, in practice. they will work in collaboration with the district board and these people will work as one large force. In other words, they will work in co-operation.

I urge the right hon. Gentleman to realise that we cannot give this power to appoint to too many people. We have substituted district boards for chief constables, as recommended by the Committee. In addition, we have added something which is not in the Report, the power to make additional appointments where necessary. Therefore, I think we and covering effectively the same ground and arriving at the same result. It should not go out from the Committee that we and prepared to extend to any large extent the right to appoint people to carry out the rather exceptional powers contained in the Clause.

Photo of Mr John Morrison Mr John Morrison , Salisbury

Would the Lord Advocate reconsider this, because I think it is an important proposal, and particu- larly so in regard to the outlying areas of Scotland? The Lord Advocate was outside the Chamber when the Under-Secretary emphasised the fact that there and vast tracts of land in Sutherland—and, I would add, in Argyll, too—where there is a limited police force. The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows the part of the country with which I am connected, and I make no apology for intervening in the debate. But let us face the fact that in an island the only person who can be approached with regard to finding suitable people as water bailiffs is, as the Under-Secretary of State said in answer to the hon. Member for Midlothian and Peebles (Mr. Pryde), the policeman.

There may be others, but I should have thought that the police would have been the most obvious chain of contact, and I do hope that, in cases where the appointment of water bailiffs is necessary, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will reconsider the matter, and make it possible for the chief constable to sanction the appointment of a water bailiff, or of a suitable person as a water bailiff, rather than that the whole set-up should go back to the Department of the Secretary of State himself, who, in the very outlying districts, does not have people who can advise him nearly so well as the police.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Lanark

We should like the Lord Advocate to look at this again, if he would, because it does seem surely an unnecessarily cumbersome procedure. Let us consider the large areas to which my hon. Friend has referred. They want a good many bailiffs. It may be that they want gamekeepers, bird watchers, and people of that kind appointed. They do not, perhaps, remain in their position as gamekeepers or bird watchers for a long time. They may want changes comparatively frequently, and that it should be necessary to have to go to the Department at Edinburgh every time a water bailiff is to be changed', or it is desired to appoint anyone in addition, does seem to me unnecessarily cumbersome, particularly as I should have thought that chief constables would very well have fitted into this picture.

Apprehension will be done by a water bailiff and policeman acting very closely together. The authority over the police is the chief constable. I should have thought that there we should have had the appropriate link with the Scottish Office. We should like the Secretary of State to have the ultimate sanction, and appoint or even remove the water bailiff, but that he should have to come in on every occasion would seem unnecessarily cumbersome. I wonder if the Lord Advocate would look at this again with a view to simplification in the large areas.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Edinburgh East

As I have said, we will always look at any representations that are made to us. My own view, however, is that this would not simplify the matter, but would merely multiply the number of people who would have the right of appointment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. J. Stuart) will remember that it is clear from the paragraph of the Maconochie Report to which he referred, paragraph 33, that the Chief Constables' Association thought that the right of search should be restricted to constables and should not be extended to anyone else.

We sought to supplement the force, because of the widespread areas with which we and dealing, in two ways—through the district boards' bailiffs, and the Secretary of State, through the persons appointed by him. Well, of course, if we were considering it, and thought of adopting the suggestion contained in the Amendment, we should have to reconsider dropping one of the other means, such as the right of the water bailiff to do it, and leave it in the hands of the police force or of people appointed by the chief constables: because, if we and going to get away from multiplication to simplification, then if we have one body, and one body alone, we shall get ultimate simplification. We will certainly look at the matter again, but I would assure the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord that we have already given this very serious consideration and think that it is the best practicable way of doing it, without being cumbersome.

Photo of Mr James Stuart Mr James Stuart , Moray and Nairnshire

I realise that the Lord Advocate has taken a great deal of trouble over this, and I am very grateful to him for his explanation, and for saying that he will look at it again. I think it would better serve our purpose at this stage if we all agreed to look at it again. I leave it at that for the moment, and beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

I beg to move, in page 4, line 27, to leave out subsection (7).

I have always made it perfectly clear that I am bitterly opposed to water bailiffs having arbitrary powers invested in them under this Bill. It is no exaggeration to say that the present set-up has not tended to improve the preservation of salmon during the last 30 years. To appoint water bailiffs for the purpose of looking after private property is, in my opinion, a travesty at this time. We and asking the miners to work 12 days a fortnight and even 14 if they can.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

On a point of order. I understood that you, Mr. Mathers, called the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member which he has just moved. He appears to be speaking to an earlier Amendment. Can we be told what is happening?

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , West Lothian

The hon. Member moved the Amendment to leave out subsection (7). I was about to point out to him that this is practically a definition subsection and that it did not seem to warrant the repetition of anything of the nature which he had already discussed on another Clause.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

I am in your hands Mr. Mathers, and if you decide that I cannot develop the point I am prepared to sit down.

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

I doubt if my hon. Friend wishes to press this Amendment. As he will appreciate subsection (7,a) merely applies the provisions of the Clause to the special powers which the water bailiffs have under the Tweed Acts. There seems to be no reason to withhold the powers to be given for the protection of sections of the river from the water bailiffs. Generally, subsection (7,b) deals with the matter which should have the sympathy of my hon. Friend. It secures that the powers conferred on any person under Clause 10 do not include the power to search: a dwelling-house or any yard, garden, outhouses and pertinents belonging thereto, or usually enjoyed therewith. I should have thought that my hon. Friend was not very anxious to delete that paragraph and, therefore, I hope he will not press his Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Brigadier Robert Thorp Brigadier Robert Thorp , Berwick-upon-Tweed

May I again, very briefly, ask my usual question? Under subsection (2) a water bailiff may exercise in any district adjoining that of the district board by which he was appointed any power which he may lawfully exercise in the district of such board. Does that apply to England, and what is a district adjoining a district on the River Tweed?

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

Yes, it would apply in any area of the Tweed. What we have in mind is that a water bailiff might very well be in hot pursuit of some people illegally taking salmon. If the water bailiff came to the end of his district and discovered that the miscreants had got across the fence he could go no further. They could turn round and, putting their fingers to their noses at the water bailiff, say, "You cannot catch us because we and now out of your district." That would be just too bad. We and here providing powers for the water bailiff to go beyond his own jurisdiction to apprehend in another area. That is a problem which runs throughout the country—

Photo of Mr Thomas Fraser Mr Thomas Fraser , Hamilton

Throughout Scotland, and inasmuch as part of the north of England is brought into this Bill, the water bailiff will have the power to follow a miscreant into an adjoining area. That is how I am advised, and it would be quite ludicrous if a water bailiff on the Tweed, in hot pursuit of poachers, could not follow them across because he would be out of his jurisdiction.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

With regard to that explanation, I see that Clause 24 (2) says: Save as in this Act otherwise expressly provided this Act shall extend only to Scotland. It does not seem to me to be expressly provided here that an adjoining area in England shall be covered by this particular Clause.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Edinburgh East

This is a very technical point, and perhaps I should deal with the question raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Brigadier Thorp). He knows from Clause 20 of the Bill that any part of that river in England is deemed to be a Scottish river for the purposes of this Bill, and accordingly, a water bailiff may exercise in any adjoin- ing district, if there be any such district, all the rights which he enjoys in a district under this Clause.

When we come to consider what is a district the interpretation Clause defines it as: all inland waters within the limits of the district as defined by the Salmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act, 1868, and for three miles seaward beyond low-water mark, and the River Tweed shall he deemed to be a district; and. He can apply the powers contained in the Clause in that district and in an adjoining district if there be an adjoining district to satisfy the conditions of that definition. If the adjoining district does not satisfy the conditions of that district it would not be an adjoining definition for the purposes of the subsection and he could not exercise his powers therein. I am sure that that makes it perfectly clear to the hon. and gallant Gentleman.

Photo of Brigadier Robert Thorp Brigadier Robert Thorp , Berwick-upon-Tweed

It does not. As I gather from what has been said, if there is not a district a water bailiff cannot do anything. As I see it there is no power in this Bill to commit part of England outside the district of the River Tweed to Scotland.

Photo of Mr David Pryde Mr David Pryde , Midlothian and Peeblesshire

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us if he means that a water bailiff appointed by the Tweed Commissioners can come down into Lanarkshire and exercise his authority on the River Clyde?

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.