HC Deb 20 May 1965 vol 712 cc272-3W
Mr. Lubbock

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will seek to impose an age limit on persons employed as school crossing attendants;

(2) if he will seek to require that persons employed as school crossing attendants should undergo eyesight and hearing tests;

(3) if he will seek to ensure that persons employed as school crossing attendants should pass an examination on the Highway Code.

Mr. George Thomas

My right hon. and learned Friend has no power to issue directions in these matters. Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960, requires local authorities and, in the Metropolitan Police District, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to satisfy themselves of the adequate qualifications of persons appointed as school crossing patrols, and to provide requisite training of persons to be appointed. It is obviously desirable that a patrol should have satisfactory eyesight and hearing. My right hon. and learned Friend would be reluctant to suggest the general imposition of an arbitrary age-limit. Many elderly patrols give good service—indeed, but for the pensioners who are prepared to do this work many more of the crossings than at present would not be manned. Appointing authorities should, however, have regard to the fitness and alertness of applicants for appointment, whatever their age, and should keep these under review.

The training of school crossing patrols in the Metropolitan Police District includes study of the Highway Code. A copy of the Commissioner's instructions for training patrols has been sent to all school crossing authorities, who were also advised to issue a copy of the Highway Code to each patrol, with particular reference to the stopping distances of vehicles. Officers instructing and supervising patrols can judge without a formal examination whether patrols can apply in practice the parts of the Highway Code which are relevant to their duties.