HC Deb 02 May 1985 vol 78 cc404-5
9. Mr. Squire

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with manpower levels within the Metropolitan police.

Mr. Brittan

On 31 March the strength of the Metropolitan police was 26,751, and the strength of the civil staff was 12,939. These are increases of over 4,500 and 1,300 respectively since May 1979. It is the Commissioner's objective, which I fully support, to ensure that the very considerable manpower at his disposal is used as effectively, efficiently and economically as possible.

Mr. Squire

Although I greatly welcome those figures for increased manpower since 1979, does not my right hon. and learned Friend accept that the increased duties of the Metropolitan police and the continuing level of crime combine to require a substantially greater establishment? Will he devote some of his considerable energy to pressing for such an increase in due course?

Mr. Brittan

There has been an increase in the Metropolitan police establishment from 1 April 1985. We shall need to keep the position under review as the reorganisation of the force proceeds. That reorganisation, of course, is of considerable importance, as I believe that it will lead to a more effective use of manpower.

Mr. John Fraser

Is the Home Secretary aware that crime levels in London's inner city areas are running at more than twice the national average and that the deployment of police in London is not directly related to them? Will he ask the Commissioner to concentrate resources permanently—not temporarily, as with the special patrol group—on areas that have very high rates of crime, which could do with good permanent police officers on the streets?

Mr. Brittan

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will accept that the Commissioner will have that priority very much at the forefront of his mind.

Mr. Jessel

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say what effect there would be on the manpower requirements of the Metropolitan police if a fifth terminal were built at Heathrow, with the ensuing appalling traffic jams in west London?

Mr. Brittan

Not without notice.