HC Deb 07 December 1925 vol 189 cc40-2
Mr. HAYES by Private Notice

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention had been called to the announcements in the Press that the post of Deputy-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police had been offered to Captain Chas. W. Rawson Royds, C.M.G., R.N.; whether such statement is correct, and, if so, would he withhold his approval until the claims of experienced and eligible Metropolitan police officers have been considered?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)

As soon as I saw this announcement, I issued to the Press a notice that the statement was un-authorised, and that I had come to no decision as to the appointment in question.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that no decision will be arrived at on any application from any Army or Naval officer until the legitimate claims of police officers have been considered?


No application has been received from any Army, or Navy officer at all; there are no applications from them. I will not go further than that at the moment. I have considered very fully, in conjunction with the Commissioner of Police, all the available candidates, and my sole object is to get the best man, irrespective of where he comes from.


Will the right hon Gentleman give us an undertaking that the appointment will go to a police officer, of whom there are many excellent candidates in the Metropolitan Police, and in the ranks of chief constables?


No, Sir. I can give no such undertaking. It is known to the hon. Member that I have passed in review a great many of those for whom he apparently speaks, and also some of the chief constables in the provinces, and I am still not decided as to which is the best man for the post.


In the making of this and similar appointments will my hon. Friend bear in mind the damaging effect which it must have upon the efficiency of the experienced officers of the force if they once believe that these plums of the Service are not open to them?


No, Sir. There are no similar appointments to this. This appointment of Deputy-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is one of the most important in the Kingdom. I have told the Federation that I claim the right to appoint the best man I can find, irrespective of whether he is a police officer or not.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when Sir Neville Macready was Commissioner, he gave an undertaking that all ranks in the Service of the Metropolitan Police should be open to members of the Police Force, and that so long as ho was Commissioner no appointment could be given to any outside individual? Will the right hon. Gentleman continue that policy?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask whether the Desborough Commission did not expressly report against any restriction of these appointments; and is it not the case that Sir Neville Macready had no right whatever to give such a pledge as he is alleged to have given?


I was on the Desborough Commission, and it did nothing of the sort. May I ask whether the retiring officer, Sir James Olive, was not raised from the ranks because of distinguished service in the Force?


Yes, Sir. He was raised from the ranks because he was obviously admirably fitted for the post. If I see in any ranks of the police force any candidate better than anyone else, I shall appoint him to the post. With regard to the supplementary question of the hon. Member opposite, I am not aware that Sir Neville Macready made any such statement. If he did make it, he had no authority to make it. The appointment does not rest with the Commissioner of Police, but with myself alone.


When will the people of London, who have to pay the bill, be given a voice in the election of these men?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where military men have been appointed as heads of the police in various parts of the country they have been complete failures?

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

How is it that we hear no protest when military men are appointed to these posts, but directly it is suggested that a solitary naval officer is to be appointed we have all these objections?