§ 1. Sir Patrick Duffy
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on current manning levels in the South Yorkshire police.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, (Mr. Peter Lloyd)
At the end of September there were 2,998 officers in the South Yorkshire police—an increase of 438 officers or 17 per cent. since 1979. Eighteen additional police posts were approved with effect from 1 October 1991 and a further 15 posts from 1 April 1992.
§ Sir Patrick Duffy
Is the Minister aware that 21 years of casework in Attercliffe have left me wholly admiring of, and grateful to, the South Yorkshire police? I am confident that they could make the streets of South Yorkshire safer if they could expand their manpower levels just that little bit more, but within the scope of the present standard spending assessment. Will he ask his right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for the Environment to bring that home to the support services and the district decision-takers in South Yorkshire and to urge on them the prior claim of South Yorkshire police at this time?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I agree that the South Yorkshire police have a good record. Crime is lower in their area than it is nationally and the clear-up rate is higher. The hon. Gentleman asked me about future numbers. South Yorkshire police have asked for 17 posts for the coming year; they have been given 16. The SSA is up by 17.4 per cent., which enables them to increase the precept by 15 per cent. They should have no difficulty in paying for those extra officers.