HC Deb 28 October 1976 vol 918 cc684-5
6. Mr. Freud

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his plans are for recruitment into the RUC.

Mr. Dunn

My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State outlined to the House on 2nd July the plans for increasing the effectiveness of the police. He referred in particular to energetic steps to secure an increase in the strength of the force. Recruitment during the past year or so has been very satisfactory, and every effort is being made by the Chief Constable and Police Authority to maintain this encouraging rate of progress.

Mr. Freud

On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends, I extend congratulations to the Secretary of State on his appointment. I entirely accept what the Under-Secretary has said, but will he bear in mind that the Royal Ulster Constabulary is still significantly below the strength that the Chief Constable would like? Will he also bear in mind that, while the cost of training is substantial the saving that would be effected, in the light of £1 million a week paid in compensation for terrorist activities, would make very light of that cost?

Mr. Dunn

Any shortfall below the full quota for the force is a matter of some anxiety and concern. I must draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that since 1970 about 3,000 recruits have been accepted into the force and that the present strength of the RUC is 5,200 men against an establishment of 6,500. Energetic steps are continuing. This is a matter for the Police Authority and the Chief Constable, but we shall certainly give whatever help we can in these objectives.

Mr. Marten

Following the point made by the hon. Member for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) about compensation, may I ask why £12,000 was paid to Mr. Guigan in compensation?

Mr. Dunn

That is not a matter for me. There is a Question on the Order Paper.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if an announcement were made soon about the new training school for the RUC it would be helpful in increasing the number of recruits for the Royal Ulster Constabulary?

Mr. Dunn

It would be a help, but that is a matter for the Police Authority in the first instance.

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