HC Deb 21 July 1960 vol 627 cc721-2
39. Commander Kerans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police dogs are employed in the Metropolitan area of London; and what is the full authorised establishment.

Mr. Renton

The Metropolitan Police has 201 dogs at present. The establishment is 272.

Commander Kerans

Will not the Joint Under-Secretary agree that if we had more of these dogs on the streets at night, it would in some way reduce crime in the West End during the dark hours?

Mr. Renton

Yes, Sir. I agree with my hon. Friend that we need more dogs on the street at night. In order to help to reduce crime generally, the Commissioner is doing all he can to obtain more of them, but it may be important for my hon. Friend to bear in mind that the Commissioner recently has been given authority to spend a larger amount for breeding purposes.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Will the Joint Under-Secretary tell us a little more about his proposals for the recruitment of dogs? If we cannot easily keep our men up to establishment in the police, surely we could succeed in keeping the dogs up to establishment?

Mr. Renton

The difficulty is that there is a shortage of suitable dogs in this country for police purposes. Many of those which have been offered to the police are unsuitable. Indeed, in 1959 no fewer than 547 dogs were inspected, but only 27 were found to be suitable.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my hon. and learned Friend using the word "dog" in a technical sense, or does it mean both sexes?

Mr. Renton

I assume that, in the Parliamentary sense, the word "dog" includes both sexes.