HC Deb 20 February 1911 vol 21 cc1540-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that it was possible to send from 750 to 1,000 members of the Metropolitan police force to South Wales without throwing any undue strain on those remaining, and in view of the fact that the original estimate of the Home Office was that 1,500 more men would be required to give one day's rest in seven to the whole force and that more than 400 of that number had since then been enlisted, he would take steps to ensure that every man of the force should be in receipt of one day's rest in seven not later than the Coronation day?


Progressive instalments of the one day's rest in seven are being regularly given, and recruiting is being pressed forward. But until the additional numbers of men required have been recruited, I cannot hold out hopes that the full concession of one day's rest in seven will be made. Men of the Metropolitan police were sent to South Wales at a time when the force is numerically most effective, as practically no annual leave is taken during November and December; and there was fortunately relatively little sickness. At other periods of the year it might have been much more difficult to spare men for duty outside the Metropolitan police district. At the same time it must be remembered that it is part of our police system that in times of emergency each police force should be able to count on assistance from other police forces, and such assistance is frequently given even though it involves for a time a reduction of the amount of police protection in the district from which the assistance is supplied. In this respect the demands made on the Metropolis have been much smaller in proportion to the strength of its force than those made on many provincial forces.


Has not experience shown the desirability of granting this favour in a relatively shorter time than four years?


I am as anxious as the hon. Gentleman that this very desirable measure should come into operation as soon as possible. It shall be pushed on with the utmost expedition.