HC Deb 26 May 1949 vol 465 cc1419-21
7. Mr. Osbert Peake

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what decision has been reached regarding the recommendations of the Oaksey Committee on pay and conditions of the police.

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir. Part I of the Committee's Report, dealing with pay, pensions and emoluments, was published on 25th April and was fully discussed with the representatives of the police authorities and of all ranks of the police service at meetings of the Police Councils for England and Wales and for Scotland held, respectively, on 18th and 19th May. After consideration of the views expressed at these meetings His Majesty's Government have decided to accept the recommendations of the Committee affecting pay, pensions and emoluments. This involves the making of regulations under the Police Act, 1919, to effect the necessary changes in pay and allowances and of regulations under the Police Pensions Act, 1948, to make the corresponding changes in the pension system.

Regulations dealing with pensions are subject to affirmative resolutions of both Houses of Parliament and drafts will be available next week; the regulations under the Police Act, 1919, do not require to be laid before Parliament, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I do not propose to make them until the regulations dealing with pensions have been approved. Since the two sets of regulations are necessarily complementary and the technical measures for giving effect to the Committee's recommendations are not without their complications, my right hon. Friend and I propose to issue a White Paper explaining the measures proposed. We appreciate that it would be unreasonable to ask Parliament to consider this matter before the Recess, but we hope that the regulations will receive approval before the end of June, so that the improved scales of pay and the new pension conditions may be brought into force on 1st July.

Lord Oaksey's Committee are now considering the remaining questions affecting police conditions covered by their terms of reference and will submit a further Report in due course; I would, however, like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and those of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to the members of the Committee for the care they have given to the resolution of the important questions covered so fully in their first Report.

Mr. Peake

Whilst the right hon. Gentleman's reply will, I am sure, give great satisfaction throughout the police forces, may I ask if he can assure us that 1st July is the earliest date at which it is possible for these improvements to be effected?

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir. It is necessary for the regulations I have mentioned to be made. This House and another place must consider those relating to pensions on an affirmative resolution. I have striven to make it the earliest possible date and I cannot do it before 1st July.

Major Bruce

Can my right hon. Friend say what will be the annual increase in cost of the implementation of these recommendations?

Mr. Ede

Approximately £4 million, of which half falls on the rates.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will the White Paper to which my right hon. Friend referred, indicate to what extent the Government have taken into account representations made by the police authorities on the proposals contained in the Report of the Oaksey Committee?

Mr. Ede

I am glad to say that the local authorities represented on the Police Council accepted the proposals without demur.

Mr. Mikardo

While the Oaksey proposals in general are warmly welcomed by the police forces, is my right hon. Friend aware that they leave uncorrected one or two quite serious anomalies affecting only small numbers of officers, particularly officers recruited immediately after the first world war? Will he have another look at that matter?

Mr. Ede

The matter has been referred to this Committee which examined all those matters, including the details to which my hon. Friend has just alluded. We have decided we will accept the Report as a whole. It is a very balanced document and every detail is carefully argued in the Report. If we started to pick and choose, or vary the Report, we might land ourselves into grave difficulties, not merely with the police forces, but with the authorities, and with this House.