HC Deb 14 November 1988 vol 140 cc397-8W
Mr. Gregory

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision has been made for additional police manpower in 1989–90.

Mr. Hurd

In May 1986 I announced a programme to increase police manpower by 3,200 posts. That programme would be completed in 1989–90 with increases of 800 posts.

Given the heavy demands on police resources, and the undeniable case for yet more officers on the beat, I have agreed with colleagues that the numbers for 1989–90 should be further increased, and that a fresh programme of substantial increases will follow in the years after that.

For 1989–90, therefore, I shall be able to approve up to 1,230 extra police posts: 800 for provincial police forces and 300 for the Metropolitan police, plus up to 130 posts where, as is the case for example at certain airports, costs are reimbursed by third parties.

I have also made provision for 100 extra Metropolitan police civil staff posts, to release 100 police officers for operational duty. These posts will be additional to the increase of 150 civil staff already planned for the Metropolitan police in 1989–90.

As with previous increases in provision for the police service, they will be made subject to my being satisfied that existing manpower is being properly used.

For future years we intend that the programme of increases should be substantial. The police service and police authorities will be fully involved in the process which will determine what the level of increase should be. We shall need to be satisfied that existing resources are used to best advantage, and will examine critically the arguments for increases in the context of competing demands for increases in public expenditure.

We maintain our commitment to achieving the best use of resources within police forces, and ensuring that we get value for money from the extra manpower which has been made available to the police service. I am confident that the police share this commitment, and that they will continue to find fresh ways of using their officers more effectively.