HC Deb 16 February 1960 vol 617 cc1107-8
6 and 7. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what assurances have been given to the Financial Secretary of Nyasaland as to the financial assistance which will be forthcoming from this country towards the cost of the emergency in Nyasaland;

(2) what steps are being taken to expand the police forces in Nyasaland, and at what cost to the British Exchequer.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Assistance is being provided to the Government of Nyasaland towards financing a programme to strengthen the provincial administration and the Police Force, which has been worked out since the emergency.

Towards this programme, and certain costs arising out of the emergency, Her Majesty's Government have agreed to provide up to the following amounts in the period to the end of the financial year 1961–62:

  1. (a) £1,268,000 capital expenditure on the police;
  2. (b) £254,000 capital expenditure on the provincial administration;
  3. (c) £288,000 for emergency items.
The Nyasaland Police Force establishment at 31st March, 1959, was 54 gazetted officers, 103 inspectors and 1,109 other ranks. It is proposed to expand the Force by an additional 40 gazetted officers, 62 inspectors and 1,037 other ranks.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Colonial Secretary aware that the Nyasaland Government have announced their intention of expanding the Police Force so as to provide one policeman to every 850 inhabitants, as compared with one policeman to every 1,500 inhabitants in this country, and this at a time when barely half the children in Nyasaland are receiving any education at all in schools? Would not it be far better (a) to abolish the emergency and to save British taxpayers' money, and (b) to see that British taxpayers' money is spent on educating the people of Nyasaland instead of repressing them?

Mr. Macleod

No. I think anybody who studies the situation would agree that the police force in Nyasaland was far too small. It is not being expanded wholly as a result of the emergency. It is quite true, as the hon. Lady says, that after this expansion has taken place there will be one policeman to every 850 people. Before that the figure was one policeman to every 1,420 people. In Northern Rhodesia, for example, there is one policeman to 537 people, and I do not think that anybody would suggest that this new expansion is one which will make the police force in Nyasaland relatively too large.

Mr. Callaghan

As this additional burden, of more than £1 million, is to be borne by the British taxpayer wholly as a result of the opposition of the people of Nyasaland to federation, may I ask the Colonial Secretary whether he proposes to make any approach to the Federal Government to see whether it is willing to bear part of the cost of this emergency for so much of which its policy is responsible?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that the hon. Member can have heard part of my answer to the supplementary question put by the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). Quite apart from the emergency, the ratio of one to 1,420—as will be appreciated by the hon. Member who knows police matters very well indeed—indicates that the Police Force is far too small. Quite irrespective of the emergency, it would certainly be appropriate to increase the strength of the police force in Nyasaland.