HC Deb 04 December 1952 vol 508 cc1754-5
44. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the concern at the small percentage of applicants for appointments to the Metropolitan Police force that are accepted at a time when more police are urgently required; and whether he is satisfied that the standard set is reasonable to allow for the necessary recruits to be obtained.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

While it continues to be a matter of concern that not enough recruits to the Metropolitan Police force are coming forward, the Commissioner of Police considers that the standards for entry which have already been lowered to meet the shortage of manpower since the war could not be further lowered without detriment to the force.

Mr. Dodds

While we all understand the need for a high standard, may I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman if he is aware that there is a good deal of misgiving among those who have seen some of the rejects and who feel that too much is being expected in these days, with the consequence that crime flourishes in the meantime?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

It is a difficult job, but I would remind the hon. Gentleman that in 1947 the pass mark for the educational examination was lowered and is now at the lowest level at which instruction in the Recruit Training School can be absorbed. The standard of general physique has also been lowered; the standards of height and physique are as low as for any other force in England and Wales. I do not think I can go further.

48. Mr. F. Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made with recruiting for the Metropolitan Police.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

During the 12 months ended 31st October last, 1,251 men joined the Metropolitan Police force and 874 left, giving a net gain in strength of 377. This shows a welcome improvement over the previous 12 months, when there was a net loss of 390, but there is still a deficiency of nearly 3,700 men.

Mr. Maclean

Would my right hon. and learned Friend not agree that what is needed to attract more recruits to the Metropolitan Police is an improvement in the conditions of employment, particularly in regard to promotions, pay and pensions?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The House will remember that the force not only had the Oaksey recommendation but the Trustram Eve award in the time of my predecessor, and I do not think that today pay is a decisive factor. One of the difficulties—this is why I have asked the House for its co-operation—is that the more difficulty we have in recruiting, the more calls are made on existing members at the week-end, and these hours make the service less attractive. Therefore, I hope for any help I can get in recruiting from hon. Members in any part of the House.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Would it not help to encourage recruiting for the Metropolitan Police if the energies of those at present in the force were not frittered away on such piffling tasks as chasing corn-sellers and photographers in Trafalgar Square and putting into operation 500 or 600 summonses, all of which are to be heard at Bow Street in the near future?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

That is another question.

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