§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, before I ask my Questions, may I apologise to my noble friend Lord Bathurst, and to your Lordships' House, for having inadvertently missed these Questions last Tuesday? I thought they were down for last Thursday. I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the strength of the Metropolitan Police Force on March 1, 1960, and March 1, 1961, respectively; and what is the difference between the latter figure and the establishment figure of the Force.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (EARL BATHURST)
My Lords, the strength of the Metropolitan Police was 17,216 on March 1, 1960, and 17,181—a drop of 35—on March 1, 1961. On the latter date the force was 3,277 below establishment.
§ EARL. WINTERTON
My Lords, in view of the very serious information conveyed by the noble Earl, is it proposed that the Home Secretary shall make some further announcement as to the steps to be taken to increase the number of the Force, in view of the fact that the new 847 pay does not seem to have attracted any further recruits? Is it intended to take any further action?
My Lords, I do not think the noble Lord should look at the position too blackly. In January there was a net increase of fifteen; in February it went up to 58, and in March to 93. There is a very definite improvement going through the Metropolitan Police Force recruiting at this present time. I myself only on Monday last saw a new intake of about 35 members.
§ EARL WINTERTON
Might I ask the noble Earl a further question? He speaks of the intake; but did that more than cancel any wastage in those three months?
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, can the noble Earl not say that the position before the pay increases were announced was that the numbers were going progressively down, so that not only has the decline been halted, but the numbers are now steadily rising?
My Lords, I should not like to say "steadily rising", but the numbers are certainly going up. There are now 1,000 more policemen in the Metropolitan Force than there were four years ago, so things are improving.