§ 16. Mr. St. John-Stevas
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now take steps to reorganise police forces on a national basis.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
No, Sir. But I intend to make a statement shortly outlining my proposals for the further amalgamation of police areas in the interests of greater efficiency.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
While thanking the Home Secretary for that reply, in part, would he not agree that because of the appalling increase in crime, much of it committed by criminals organised on a national basis, the time is now ripe for the police forces to be organised on a national basis so that they can cope with these crimes adequately?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am certainly aware that, because of the growth in organised crime, it is vitally important to organise police forces in the most efficient way possible to combat that crime. But one does not do that by grasping at a phrase, whether it be a national police force or something else, and I want to study the matter carefully.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Rather than considering ad hoc amalgamations of police forces, will my right hon. Friend give detailed consideration to the potential advantages in present-day conditions of multi-purpose regional authorities whose 929 functions would include the provision and control of police forces?
§ Mr. Jenkins
It is a matter of great concern to me and to anyone responsible for the police to see what comes out of the Royal Commission on Local Government, but I do not want to have a standstill on police amalgamations during the two years or so for which that Commission must sit, and I propose to press ahead vigorously during this interim period.