HC Deb 11 June 1986 vol 99 c173W
Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received (a) in respect of London and (b) for the rest of the country, about police posts suitable for the direct employment of civilian staff or transfer to other agencies; and if he will make a statement about whether he proposes to take any action on this matter.

Mr. Giles Shaw

Chief officers of police have, with our encouragement, developed and implemented many proposals for making better use of their manpower by these means. Significant progress has been made in releasing officers for operational duty.

In the Metropolitan police, over 300 officers were released for operational duty in 1984–85 and 1985–86 through the civilianisation of posts not requiring police powers, skills or training; and the increase of up to 600 in the civil staff ceiling over the next four years which my right hon. Friend announced on 20 May should lead to the release of a further 400. A comprehensive review of the Metropolitan police's commitment to a wide range of peripheral duties has also produced savings in police time, the most significant being a reduction in the force's involvement in court duties.

In the provinces, civilianisation released about 900 officers for operational duty in 1983–84 and 1984–85. In addition, all forces keep the tasks performed by police officers under review with a view to relieving them of duties which might more efficiently be carried out by other means.