HC Deb 23 June 1955 vol 542 cc1494-5
43. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he still intends to expand the police cadet scheme; and whether the cadets will be exempt from National Service.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The Government decided in March, 1955, that, in view of the vital part played by the police in the preservation of law and order in peace time, and also of the heavy burdens which would fall on them in the event of war, police cadets should not be called up for National Service so long as they continued to serve as cadets with, and subsequently as members of, a regular police force. The primary object was to assist in building up the gravely depleted strength of the Metropolitan Police. The reasons for that decision remain valid; and, with my right hon. and gallant Friend's approval, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is proceeding with his plans to expand his cadet force.

Mr. de Freitas

Is that not directly contrary to the recommendations of the Oaksey Committee, which saw in any substantial increase in the police cadet force a real threat to the traditional attitude of the police of this country, in that these boys would not have grown up as civilians living civilian lives?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I think that the hon. Gentleman has overstated the effect of the recommendations of the Oaksey Committee. It is true that it drew attention to the need for outside experience on the part of those coming to the police force, and also that there should not be too large a proportion of cadets. Those matters are being dealt with in the scheme. In future, the Metropolitan Police will recruit senior cadets at the age of registration for National Service who will often have had outside experience after leaving school. The maximum number of ex-cadets coming in this way would not be more than 1,000 a year, and that would be less than half the requirements of the Metropolitan Police Force.