§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many policemen who are engaged on Special Patrol Group duties come from ethnic minority groups;
(2) what is the average length of service of those policemen who are engaged on Special Patrol Group duties;
(3) how long the Special Patrol Group has been in existence; why it was decided to form the Special Patrol Group; what duties are undertaken by the Special Patrol Group; and under what immediate authority the Special Patrol Group operates;
(4) how many in the police force in total are engaged on Special Patrol Group duties; on what basis policemen are recruited for the Special Patrol Group; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the Special Patrol Group was set up in 1965 by the then commissioner against the background of a worrying increase in housebreaking, hooliganism and other crime in the Metropolitan area, The prime aim was to make best use of the264W force's available manpower by providing a mobile reserve which would supplement the strength of local police and help to provide assistance in areas with a high rate of crime or vandalism. These remain the main functions of the Special Patrol Group. The group also provides a reserve of manpower for demonstrations and disturbances, major incidents and large-scale searches and inquiries. The group operates under the authority of the commissioner and comes under the over all command of a commander based at New Scotland Yard.
The Special Patrol Group currently comprises 202 officers. All officers in the group are volunteers from the uniform branch, chosen for their practical experience and ability. The average length of total service in the force of those members of the group of the rank of chief superintendent and below is approximately 12 years. One serving member of the group is of West Indian extraction.
§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of complaints received about the Special Patrol Group since its formation; what is the number of complaints which have been investigated; and what were the results of those complaints.