HC Deb 03 March 1948 vol 448 cc382-3
41. Mr. Mikardo

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many members of the Palestine Police were, at the latest convenient date, deserters or absent without leave; and how many vehicles belonging to the Palestine Police were at the same date missing as a result of theft.

Mr. Rees-Williams

Numbers missing who have been posted as deserted or absent without leave are as follow:

British, five during 1947 and six since 1st January, 1948.

Arabs, two members of the Regular Police and 477 temporary and supernumerary policemen, during the three months ending 29th February, 1948.

Jews, nil.

As regards the last part of the Question, vehicles missing are: one armoured light reconnaissance car, two armoured cars and one 3-ton truck, all missing since 1st January, 1948.

Mr. Mikardo

Will my hon. Friend say what action he or the Palestine Government are taking to deal with this matter and, secondly, whether he knows how the British deserters are earning their livelihood, and whether any of them are now in the employ of the Arab agencies?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I can add nothing further about deserters, or those posted as absent without leave, without notice.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

Do not these numbers show that the number of deserters in the Palestine Police Force is remarkably small?

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Could my hon. Friend say whether any deserters are members of the so-called British League, Palestine branch, which circulated many Members of Parliament this morning with a highly seditious and offensive document?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I can give no further information about those posted as deserters, or as absent without leave, other than I have already given.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Can the hon. Gentleman say by whom these vehicles were stolen?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I am not in possession of that information.