HC Deb 12 February 1970 vol 795 cc1427-35
9. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now make a further statement on negotiations for increases in police pay.

5. Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police forces are currently under strength, and by what total numbers; and what proposals he now has to improve police recruitment.

11. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are his plans for bringing the police forces in urban areas up to strength.

20. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will advance consideration of the wage claim put forward on behalf of the police in view of recruitment figures.

43. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken, or intends taking, to hasten consideration of measures to improve the pay and allowances of the police force in general and the Metropolitan Police Force in particular.

48. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the details in both absolute and relative terms of recruitment and wastage in the individual police authorities for each of the past two years; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent high rates of turnover and high net wastage rates in the authorities most affected.

Mr. Callaghan

The strength of police forces in England and Wales has now risen to 91,762. Establishments also have been increased by 19,300 in recent years and now stand at 108,944. Police authorities are aware that there is no general restriction on building up their strengths and I have authorised in full the increases which they have provided for in their estimates for 1970–71.

Resignations in 1969 were just over 3,000, and means of reducing this number are being examined. The level of pay not only affects recruitment and resignations, but also needs to be considered for its effect on those already serving and I am glad to say that the Police Council is now considering an interim settlement. Moreover, the ordinary working week will be reduced by two hours from 1st April.

I will, with permission, circulate other details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Lane

The news about pay is encouraging, but does not the Home Secretary agree, particularly now that Parliament has abolished the death penalty, not only do we owe the police higher pay but considerably greater numbers and still more modern equipment?

Mr. Callaghan

We owe the police the best conditions we can give them. Under this Government, they are being provided. The total number of police has gone up by over 11,000 since the Conservatives left office. The number of personal radios available to individual police officers has increased from 500 in 1964 to over 20,000 now. The amount spent on cars in order to provide for better facilities against more mobile criminals has more than quadrupled. While we owe the police the best conditions we can provide, there is no need to make a party issue out of this and I will resist now, as I did in the past when the Conservatives were in office, any attempt to treat the police as a party football.

Mr. Tilney

I agree that the police should have the best possible conditions, but is it not odd that, under this Government, police recruiting was cut down not so very long ago? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in certain areas of Liverpool, people, particularly women and the elderly, are afraid to go out after dark for fear of assault? Can we have more men on the beat?

Mr. Callaghan

The hon. Gentleman is repeating an error made by the Leader of the Opposition on "Panorama". Recruitment was never stopped in this country. It has never been less than 5,000 a year. In every year the total number available has increased. I believe that the increase in violent crime is too great for the comfort of any of us. What I resist strongly is an attempt to turn this into a party battle. If it does become a party batttle, I shall have to point out to the Leader of the Opposition in his more lucid moments that the greatest increase in violent crime in this country took place in the late 1950s and that the rate of increase has been falling consistently since then. I shall also have to point out that no one then blamed the Government of Harold Macmillan.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

While welcoming the news about the pay increase, may I ask my right hon. Friend to consider the suggestion that the police should be better deployed in many instances, rather than as in a recent case, where as many as 8 or 10 policemen, two Jaguar cars and two motorcyclist policemen were engaged in giving tickets to people who had parked for a minute past time in the north of London? Could the police not be better employed? Could we not perhaps have some girls employed on this sort of thing, or even teenage schoolboys?

Mr. Callaghan

My hon. Friend has a Question on the Order Paper later on about this matter. In addition to the record increase in the number of policemen, a record number of traffic wardens have been engaged over the last five years, together with civilians, in order to relieve the police of their civilian duties so that they may be on the beat trying to do the basic job they are intended for. It is these facts which need to be taken into account when considering the total position.

Mr. Brooks

Is my right hon. Friend aware that hon. Members on this side of the House who have great admiration for the resolute and sensible fashion in which my right hon. Friend has dealt with the problems of law and order in the country—not least in Northern Ireland, where the problems have been precipitated by colleagues of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite—know that he needs no lessons from the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), who has unfortunately given vent to intemperate and foolish statements which are deplored by those of us who have come to regard him with admiration and respect?

Mr. Manuel

He now sits silent and will not reply.

Mr. Callaghan

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. When I look at some of the names which the right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted, it is apparent to me that at least some of them had committed their crimes under a Tory Government and had been arrested under a Labour Government. I make no comment about that.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, whatever we may think about it, the public is concerned about this matter and, therefore, that it is right and proper that it should be discussed? Is he not concerned about the fact that there are quite a lot of police leaving the force and that, whatever recruitment may be, the numbers leaving give cause for concern?

Mr. Callaghan

There is always a turnover in a force like this. I think that the House will acquit me of being complacent on these issues at any time. The number of resignations is too large, but it is no greater than it has been, and we are trying to examine it. However, I object to lies and false statements such as the one that my right hon. Friend has presided over the biggest crime wave of the century.

Mr. Manuel

It is a lie.

Mr. Callaghan

It is untrue, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman is attempting to turn a serious social problem, which is of concern not only to this country but to other countries, into a squalid means of securing electoral advantage.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is some responsibility in the Liverpool and Bootle police on the local authority, which is in the hands of a Conservative administration at the moment? Is he further aware that hon. Members on both sides of the House and people outside, in these days of growing violence, will particularly deplore the base political gambit of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) made in his speech yesterday?

Mr. Callaghan

Liverpool is one of the areas with which I am concerned. I believe that there is a problem there, maybe for historical and social reasons. I would like to see a bigger police force there, and that is one reason why we should do all that we can to bring down the level of resignation and increase recruiting to bring the force up to strength. It has not been up to strength in all the years that I have known it.

Mr. Carlisle rose


Mr. Speaker

Order. Mr. Speaker must protect law and order.

Mr. Carlisle rose

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. May we have your help? A series of charges has been rightly levelled against the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). Instead of replying to those charges, he puts up his second string. We do not want the monkey; we want the organ grinder.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question of a monkey or an organ grinder is not a point of order for Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Carlisle

The Home Secretary has just said in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) that in fact there had been no cut down in recruitment into the police force and that in fact the number had gone up every year. Will he agree that he put a ceiling on recruitment for 1968 of 1,000, and that the number of

(a) (b) (c)
Force Actual recruitment* Actual wastage* Expressed as a percentage of authorised establishment
Recruitment Wastage
Cumbria 21 31 3.1 4.5
Lancashire 432 423 6.2 6.0
Liverpool and Bootle 105 149 4.1 5.8
Manchester and Salford 120 168 4.9 6.9
Cheshire 211 192 6.9 6.3
Northumberland 64 85 3.6 4.8
Durham 72 122 2.8 4.7
York and North East Yorkshire 49 64 4.0 5.3
Kingston-upon-Hull 26 43 3.7 6.2
West Yorkshire 205 244 4.4 5.2
Bradford 31 32 4.2 4.4
Sheffield and Rotherham 64 67 4.4 4.6
Leeds 78 80 5.7 5.8
Teesside 76 28 9.8 3.6
Birmingham 191 142 6.3 4.7
Staffs and Stoke-on-Trent 101 125 5.6 6.9
West Mercia 78 91 4.5 5.2
Warwickshire and Coventry 100 95 5.5 5.2
West Midlands 116 85 5.9 4.3

the provincial police force fell by 238 in that year? Will he undertake to remove any ceiling on recruitment?

Mr. Callaghan

The hon. Gentleman always does us the courtesy of trying to deal with these problems seriously, and I respect that. There was not a limit of 1,000 put on recruitment. There was a limit of 1,200 put on the amount by which the force could grow for one year; that is to say, we said, "You cannot have more than 1,200 extra policemen this year." The result of that policy has been to increase the strength from 80,000 to 91,000 overall throughout the whole country. That is the test. As regards the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), he should always remember that it is easier to get away with half-truths to the St. Marylebone Young Conservatives than it is in the House of Commons.

Mr. Biggs-Davison rose

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Lane.

Mr. Biggs-Davison rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) must not look surprised when I do not call him.

Following is the information:

(a) (b) (c)
Force Actual recruitment* Actual wastage* Expressed as a percentage of authorised establishment
Recruitment Wastage
Derby County and Borough 71 57 4.7 3.8
Nottinghamshire 85 98 4.8 5.5
Lincolnshire 105 102 6.6 6.4
Leicester and Rutland 74 75 5.2 5.3
Northampton and County 34 43 4.4 5.6
Mid-Anglia 34 46 3.6 4.9
Norfolk 53 65 5.0 6.1
Suffolk 39 44 3.9 4.4
Bedfordshire and Luton 48 47 5.8 5.7
Hertfordshire 60 46 4.3 3.3
Essex and Southend 95 129 4.1 5.6
Thames Valley 154 156 5.2 5.3
Hampshire 98 87 3.6 3.2
Surrey 104 120 7.6 8.8
Kent 108 115 4.6 4.9
Sussex 123 135 5.2 5.7
Devon and Cornwall 93 107 3.8 4.4
Bristol 34 65 3.0 5.6
Somerset and Bath 65 64 5.2 5.1
Gloucestershire 52 48 4.9 4.5
Wiltshire 43 61 4.6 6.6
Dorset and Bournemouth 36 52 3.7 5.4
Gwynedd 43 78 4.2 7.5
Gwent 37 44 4.3 5.1
South Wales 133 179 5.2 6.9
Dyfed-Powys 35 38 4.3 4.6
City of London 33 30 3.3 3.0
Metropolitan 1,293 843 5.0 3.2
Average Percentage 4.8 5.2
* Excluding transfers.
(d) (e) (f)
Force Actual recruitment* Actual wastage* Expressed as a percentage of authorised establishment
Recruitment Wastage
Cumbria 49 44 7.1 6.4
Lancashire 414 404 5.9 5.8
Liverpool and Bootle 107 108 4.1 4.2
Manchester and Salford 143 198 5.9 8.1
Cheshire 237 182 7.8 6.0
Northumberland 72 86 4.0 4.8
Durham 182 166 7.0 6.4
York and North East Yorkshire 81 65 6.7 5.4
Kingston-upon-Hull 51 49 7.3 7.1
West Yorkshire 265 236 5.7 5.1
Bradford 27 24 3.7 3.3
Sheffield and Rotherham 112 72 7.7 5.0
Leeds 147 78 10.7 5.7
Teesside 136 46 17.5 5.9
Birmingham 190 141 6.3 4.7
Staffs and Stoke-on-Trent. 112 105 6.2 5.8
West Mercia 108 107 6.2 6.1
Warwickshire and Coventry 117 117 6.4 6.4
West Midlands 116 105 5.9 5.3
(d) (e) (f)
Force Actual recruitment* Actual wastage* Expressed as a percentage of authorised establishment
Recruitment Wastage
Derby County and Borough 101 57 6.7 3.8
Nottinghamshire 91 85 5.2 4.8
Lincolnshire 123 114 7.7 7.2
Leicester and Rutland 100 90 7.1 6.4
Northampton and County 57 35 7.4 4.5
Mid-Anglia 49 62 5.2 6.6
Norfolk 39 39 3.7 3.7
Suffolk 50 40 5.0 4.0
Bedfordshire and Luton 61 55 7.4 6.7
Hertfordshire 96 66 6.9 4.7
Essex and Southend 135 126 5.8 5.4
Thames Valley 234 138 7.9 4.7
Hampshire 129 101 4.7 3.7
Surrey 132 91 9.7 6.7
Kent 195 144 8.2 6.1
Sussex 160 169 6.8 7.2
Devon and Cornwall 170 110 7.0 4.5
Bristol 66 61 5.7 5.3
Somerset and Bath 72 64 5.7 5.1
Gloucestershire 49 53 4.6 5.0
Wiltshire 82 58 8.9 6.3
Dorset and Bournemouth 66 68 6.9 7.1
Gwynedd 68 56 6.6 5.4
Gwent 59 42 6.8 4.8
South Wales 164 142 6.4 5.5
Dyfed-Powys 70 42 8.5 5.1
City of London 47 45 4.7 4.5
Metropolitan 1,154 872 4.4 3.3
Average Percentage 6.7 5.4
* Excluding transfers.
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