HC Deb 24 February 1954 vol 524 cc381-2
36. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the minimum age for recruitment to the Kenya Police Reserve.

Mr. Lyttelton

Normally 18 years, but, as in the regular force, cadets are accepted from the age of 16 years subject to certain stipulations; for example, they are not permitted to carry firearms.

Mrs. White

Can the right hon. Gentleman elaborate a little on this? Public opinion has been very much disturbed to find that very young recruits for the Police Reserve have been used on screening operations. Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is entirely unsuitable for boys under 18 years of age to be used on any duties other than messenger duties and so on?

Mr. Lyttelton

I am not clear from the advices which I have received—I have asked for others—upon exactly what duties the young man—he is described as being 16 years of age, but I think he was something over 17—was employed at the time. I have called for a report on the matter.

Mr. Dugdale

The right hon. Gentleman has stated that these young men may not themselves carry firearms, but will he also assure the House that they are not in a position to order others to use arms?

Mr. Lyttelton

I have the case under investigation. Although I could probably give the right hon. Gentleman an assurance, I think he might wait until 1 get further advices.

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