HC Deb 12 April 1967 vol 744 cc1204-5
58. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to give facilities to members of the Services who wish to leave the Armed Forces for service in the police force to do so.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

No, Sir. I could not justify extending the existing arrangements for discharge by purchase. However I was glad to learn that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has recently made a regulation which will allow ex-Servicemen to join the police up to the age of 40.

Mr. Hughes

While congratulating the Minister on that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that there is still a deplorable shortage of police and prison officers? Does he not think that this could be made up by men who are prepared to volunteer, especially in view of the rise in pay, from places in Germany, where some of them are doing damn all?

Mr. Rees

My hon. Friend should bear in mind that any changes that take place, whether from Germany or elsewhere, are not within the category of the release of a citizen army after 1945. The changes that take place must take into account not only the needs of the police but the needs of the individuals concerned. We have done the best we can in this matter, and personnel on short service can go into the police at an early age.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will the Minister repudiate the statement by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) about the Armed Forces in Germany?

Mr. Rees

I entirely repudiate it. I was once a school teacher, however, and subsequently became a Member of Parliament. A lot of people think that school teachers and Members of Parliament do nothing. I get it both ways. I took it as a joke rather than anything else.