HC Deb 27 June 1974 vol 875 cc1718-9
22. Mr. McCusker

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on Royal Ulster Constabulary recruitment.

Mr. Orme

There has been a 28 per cent. increase in total RUC strength since 1st January 1970. At 31st May the strength of the force was 4,448 and of the RUC Reserve 2,538. A major recruiting campaign is being conducted by the police authority and the chief constable.

Mr. McCusker

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the Secretary of State that for any appreciable increase to take place in the RUC, recruitment must come from the Roman Catholic population of Northern Ireland? What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to ensure that such recruitment takes place?

Mr. Orme

We consider this to be a major point. We have had consultations with representatives of the minority community, not least the SDLP. If the Executive had not fallen we should have been a long way on the road to getting more people into the RUC from the minority community. The majority has a responsibility to encourage people from both communities to join the RUC.