HC Deb 06 March 1941 vol 369 cc999-1000
16. Mr. Mander

asked the Home Secretary what representations he has received from women's organisations with regard to an increase in the number of women police; to what extent such increases have recently taken place; whether he is aware of the importance of such appointments being made in areas where large numbers of troops are concentrated; and whether he will indicate strongly to the police authorities throughout the country for their guidance the views of the Government on the subject?

Mr. H. Morrison

Representations on this subject have been received from various organisations. A circular was sent to police authorities and chief officers of police in August last calling attention to the question of additional policewomen in areas where there are large military establishments or munitions factories and asking that consideration should be given to this matter in the light of conditions resulting from the war, and in consultation where necessary with the military authorities. In a number of forces appointments have been made as a result of this circular, and according to the latest available information, 410 appointments of women for whole-time police duties and 542 appointments as whole-time un- attested members of the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps have been approved in England and Wales; the authorised establishment of policewomen at the outbreak of the war was 246, although in some forces recruitment had not taken place up to establishment. It is the policy of the Home Office to encourage police authorities to make full use of the services of suitable women. The scope and the need for policewomen vary according to local conditions, but I have very much in mind the importance of taking all suitable opportunities for developing the use of their services

Mr. Mander

Is the Minister satisfied with the progress made in all cases, and, if not, will he consider the desirability of issuing a Defence Regulation empowering him to take action from the centre?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, I do not think that in the circumstances I should be justified in overriding the normal machinery of local government in this matter.

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