HC Deb 09 February 1938 vol 331 cc1065-6W
Major Mills

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air for what purpose members of the Observer Corps are sworn in as special constables; to what extent this practice prevails; and whether such members when on duty are under the orders of the Air Ministry or of the Home Office?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The duties of the Observer Corps require that its members must be recruited locally, and give some guarantee ensuring that they will take up their duties quickly in an emergency. Experience shows that the status of special constable provides the most convenient method of meeting these requirements. With the exception of the officer personnel, who are appointed by the Air Ministry, all members of the Observer Corps are, therefore, enrolled as special constables. They are under the chief constables and, consequently, the Home Office so far as concerns their attendance at duty and general routine matters, but for operational purposes they come under the appropriate Royal Air Force Command.