HC Deb 16 October 1973 vol 861 cc36-7W
Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the latest report of the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and what steps are being taken to speed up recruitment.

Mr. Peter Mills

The latest report of the Chief Constable to the Police Authority, which related to the year ended 31st December 1972, reflected the extraordinary difficulties of the force in the face of prolonged violence and disregard for the law. Since that time there has been encouraging evidence of the substantial improvement in the detection rate which was forecast by the chief constable. The average number of people arrested and charged per month for offences under the Firearms Act, the Explosives Act, and for murder, attempted murder, theft and other offences for the last five months of 1972 was 106.2; for the first nine months of 1973 it was 121.3.

This improvement has been greatly helped by increased co-operation from the public. Confidence in the RUC by all sections of the community is the most important step towards better recruitment and the chief constable, the police authority and the Government are making every effort to develop closer links between the police and community leaders as well as using conventional recruiting techniques.