§ 63. Brigadier-General Spears
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the increase in numbers in the Metropolitan Police as compared with the numbers before the outbreak of war; and what is the increased cost?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peake)
The strength of the Metropolitan Police Force, including full-time auxiliary personnel, has increased from 18,712 in August, 541 1039, to 33,139 at the end of April, 1940. The latter figure includes 1,797 re-engaged police pensioners, 2,791 full-time special constables and 10,319 members of the Metropolitan Police War Reserve. The strengths of these auxiliary bodies continue to fall, but the additional cost for pay allowances and insurance based on the existing strength would be at the rate of about £2,500,000 per annum.
§ Brigadier-General Spears
In view of the need for economy and for men in many other directions, would it not be possible to reduce the number of police now; and in view of the fact that there are many fewer motorists on the road than there were, cannot the number of police employed in pursuing motorists be reduced?
§ Mr. Peake
That is a much wider question than that on the Paper, which asks for some statistical information, but I would point out that the need for these additional constables depends in large part on the danger of air raids over London. The number of the auxiliary police continues to decline owing to men being called up under the National Service Act.
As my hon. Friend says that there is a continuous decline, can he say what was the peak figure?