HC Deb 01 March 1951 vol 484 cc2278-9
28. Mr. Black

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present deficiency in numbers of the Metropolitan Police Force; and whether the recruiting campaign is proving successful.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

The Metropolitan Police are at present 3,906 men and five women short of establishment. I am far from being satisfied with the present rate of male recruiting and the matter continues to receive my close attention.

Earl Winterton

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us the extent to which the recruiting campaign is interfered with or rendered infructuous by the continuing absence of proper accommodation for married police officers? Could he also state what have been the results of his discussions with the various Metropolitan boroughs to try to provide more houses?

Mr. Ede

The housing position has improved and, I am glad to say, shows signs of improving still further The Commissioner is himself having approximately 500 houses built during the current housing year, and although I am not yet satisfied with the response made by councils generally in the Metropolitan police area, or by the Metropolitan borough councils there has been a slow improvement.

Mr. Assheton

Will these be tied houses?

Mr. Ede

These are houses for the police.

Mr. Angus Maude

Would the right hon. Gentleman look again at the possibility of extending recruitment to suitable ex-Service men who are slightly over the present maximum age?

Mr. Ede

I have sent a circular on that matter to chief constables throughout the country. In view of the extension of military service, which is one of the things which causes a temporary depression in the number of recruits, reasonable cases recommended by chief constables or by the Commissioner will be most sympathetically considered.