HC Deb 14 March 1916 vol 80 cc1918-9W

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that, if many of the married men who have been doing useful and important work as special constables for the last eighteen months are withdrawn from that work and placed in the Army or in munition work, it will necessitate the reconstruction of the force in many divisions; that, as it is difficult now to get recruits as special constables, a good deal of patrol work may have to be abandoned, leaving public property without police protection and throwing extra work on the regular police; and, for the guidance of Metropolitan local tribunals before whom these considerations will be laid, and who must weigh the needs of competing claims, can he indicate whether it is desired that special consideration should be given to the claims for exemption of the older married men of military age, particularly those who have served since the commencement, on the ground that it is expedient in the public interest that they should continue to perform their present duties?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. It may be necessary, if recruits for the special constabulary do not offer themselves in sufficient numbers, to reduce some of the duties. I hope, however, that when the patriotic citizens of the Metropolitan area recognise the need for their services to replace men who have gone to the Army, the special constabulary will receive a sufficient number of new entrants. I consider that the requirements of the fighting forces are more urgent than those of the special constabulary, and that it is not expedient that their present duties should be regarded as a bar to the undertaking of military service.