HC Deb 28 June 1979 vol 969 cc624-6
2. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if police departments will be subject to cash limits.

Mr. Whitelaw

The specific grant to police authorities of 50 per cent. of approved police expenditure is not cash limited.

Mr. Marks

Is the Home Secretary aware that it will not be much use spending more money on the police if there are cuts in those services which help to prevent crime, particularly among young people? Will he urge his colleagues at the Departments of the Environment, Education and Science, and Health and Social Security not to force cuts on such services as school welfare and those dealing with one-parent families?

Mr. Whitelaw

I shall have consultations with my colleagues on these matters. The Government's law and order programme has a high priority. I am determined to ensure that that continues.

Mr. Crowther

In the light of that answer, will the Home Secretary also assure us that no cash limits will be imposed on other aspects of the law and order programme, such as the probation and after-care service and the operation of the magistrates' courts?

Mr. Whitelaw

There are different arrangements for those matters. I shall certainly regard the law and order programme as a whole and consider those other services on the basis that they are an integral part of it.

Mr. Wilkinson

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that adequate resources are available for the recruitment of special constables, particularly in the Metropolitan area, where police are drafted in from the outer districts, such as Hillingdon, to stop demonstrations and so on in the centre of the city?

Mr. Whitelaw

I do not know of any occasions when the resources for the recruitment of special constables are not available. I shall be pleased to hear from hon. Members about such occasions if they can tell me of any. Special constables have a particularly important role to play, and the House should encourage that voluntary effort by them.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that during the election campaign repeated assurances were given that there would be no cuts in spending on the police? Will he give a categorical assurance that there will be no cuts, either in the Home Office's direct contribution or in the rate support grant to the local authorities as it affects the police?

Mr. Whitelaw

I cannot guarantee what the local police authorities will decide to do. But I shall urge them to maintain their expenditure on the main- tenance of law and order, and I shall give them every encouragement to do so.