My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Report on pay by the Royal Commission on the Police has yet been received; and whether they will make a statement.]
Yes, my Lords. The Report has been received and is available in the Printed Paper Office. Her Majesty' s Government would like to take this opportunity of thanking Sir Henry Willink and his colleagues for the expeditious way in which they have dealt with this aspect of their terms of reference. The Government attach great importance to early action being taken on this Report, and it is being referred to the Police Council for Great Britain, with a request that they will consider it as soon as possible.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, can the noble Earl tell us what he means by "early action"? In the case of some inquiries the Government have defined "early action" as ten years; and one we had to deal with the other day. Could he give us his idea of what "early action" is?
The Police Council are meeting on November 30, and if your Lordships remember the gist of my Answer to a Question the other day you will realise that Her Majesty' s Government really intend to take early action.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, the noble Earl has not indicated the highlights of this Report or what is in it, and if the recommendations are many and numerous, I can understand that. But my anticipation was that there would not be many or numerous things, other than the increase in the police pay, which the Home Secretary has almost predicted himself. Can the noble Earl give us an indication of what are the important recommendations made by the Royal Commission?
My Lords, I regret that the first indication I had that the Report was available was a few minutes before lunch to-day. I have my Report here. I must admit that I have not been able to look through it, but, judging by the extent of the Report, there must be many recommendations therein.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that the most important recommendation is that the constable's pay should be initially £600 and that in London it should reach a maximum of £990, which is just £10 less than noble Lords recommended in the debate in January. Can the noble Earl say whether the Government accept that recommendation? Can he also now answer the question I asked him two weeks ago: whether these increases, when they are made, will be back-dated to the time when the Police Federation applied last January?
My Lords, the noble Lord opposite knows well that another recommendation in the Report is that these recommendations should go before the Police Council. That is the course which is being followed with regard to the first part of the noble Lord' s question. As to the second part, in regard to retrospection, there is nothing in the recommendations in the Report about that, but no doubt the Police Council will consider it.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
My Lords, in view of the fact that equal pay is now established in the Civil Service, can the noble Earl go so far as to say that Her Majesty's Government will reject the recommendation that the pay of a woman constable should continue to be nine-tenths that of a man?
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
Are we to infer that that is the estimate of the relative value of the sexes by Her Majesty's Government?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, with regard to this question of urgency, would the noble Earl convey to his right honourable friend that we understand that there are two factors in the question of putting the police position right? It is not merely the insufficient recruitment that we are getting, but the agitation among younger constables as to whether they will remain in the service or not, which could create an even more serious position than the present one. Therefore should not something be made by way of gesture to them as early as possible?