HC Deb 21 October 1976 vol 917 cc1632-3
1. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about recruitment for the Metropolitan Police.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Merlyn Rees)

The recent improvement continues, and the strength of the Metropolitan Police is now increasing by an average of about 100 officers a month.

Mr. Goodhart

It is only natural that crimes of violence should capture most of the headlines, but does the Home Secretary recognise that recently there has been a sharp increase in crimes of fraud? In welcoming him to his first Question Time, may I ask him what action he is taking to increase the staff of the over-pressed Fraud Squad?

Mr. Rees

I have not yet had time to put my mind to this matter, but of course that is what Question Time is for. I shall discuss this issue with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Mr. Craig

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is some truth in the generalisation that a policeman's lot is not a happy one? Accordingly, if recruitment and building up of the police force is to take place it is important to pay attention not only to pay and conditions of employment, but to the creation of confidence within the force. Will he keep under review the procedure for dealing with complaints against the police?

Mr. Rees

I shall do that. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular aspect in mind perhaps he will speak to me later.

Mr. Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that with better rates of pay it is more likely that we shall obtain more adequate recruits? The more recruits we have, the better the police can deal with robberies and thefts from the person—crimes which are worrying a lot of people in the London area.

Mr. Rees

Recruitment is increasing, and this may be a reflection of the 30 per cent. increase in pay which the police obtained last year.