HC Deb 03 May 1973 vol 855 cc1453-4
17. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on matters within his responsibility.

Mr. R. Carr

In pursuance of my responsibilities as police authority, officers of the Home Office are constantly in touch with the commissioner and his senior officers on a wide range of subjects. Arrangements for the deployment of police officers, about which the hon. Member recently spoke to me, are a matter for the commissioner, whom I have informed of the views the hon. Member expressed.

Mr. Cox

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, but am I to assume from it that the commissioner will support divisional commanders who wish to further the introduction of neighbourhood policemen within their divisions? The system of neighbourhood police has be- come extremely popular in the London borough of Wandsworth and, I am sure, in many other areas. In view of the shortage of police officers in the Metropolitan Police force, will not the Home Secretary think again about a special London allowance to attract officers and also to keep them?

Mr. Carr

I cannot add any more in reply to the general question, which worries me, about the strength of the Metropolitan Police Force. The neighbourhood police force is a good system and, as far as I know, the commissioner would wish to see it extended as far as the strength allows.

Mr. Costain

In discussions with the commissioner, will my right hon. Friend study the necessity for the restrictions which still apply to the employment of policemen's wives? Are not these restrictions out-dated, and do they not prevent people joining the police force?

Mr. Carr

I must confess that that is a new point to me. I shall think about it.