HC Deb 15 November 1962 vol 667 cc540-1
6. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what is the current annual cost of maintaining the Metropolitan Mounted Police.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. C. M. Woodhouse)

About £400,000.

Mr. Lipton

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that for ceremonial occasions we have the mounted cavalry, and that for controlling political and other demonstrations foot police, for a variety of reasons, are much more suitable? In the circumstances, is this very substantial expenditure really worth while for 200 men and 200 horses? If I may mix my metaphors, is not this all a bit of a white elephant?

Mr. Woodhouse

I do not think that I would agree that it is a white elephant. In fact, of the £400,000 annual cost well over three-quarters is the cost of the policemen themselves, which would have to be paid in any case. It is a fact that for many purposes other than ceremonial occasions it is possible to control crowds more economically with policemen on horseback rather than on foot, so with the elimination of the mounted police we would probably need a larger number of foot police.

Sir J. Barlow

Is it not a fact that mounted police in London and other large cities serve a very useful purpose in many different spheres?

Mr. Woodhouse

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend.