HL Deb 30 January 1989 vol 503 cc982-4WA
Baroness Blatch

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are able to announce their decisions on increases in police establishments for 1989–90.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)

I announced to the House on 14th November (vol. 501, Cmnd. 919) that my right honourable friend was able to approve 800 additional police posts for provincial forces in 1989–90 and that provision had been made for 300 additional police officers and 250 civilian staff for the Metropolitan Police, subject to his being satisfied that earlier increases had been used effectively. That would make a total of 1,100 extra police officers for England and Wales. In addition, my right honourable friend can approve up to 130 posts where satisfied that the full cost would be reimbursed by a third party.

Applications from police authorities outside London have exceeded the number available for allocation, and my right honourable friend has therefore had to set priorities. With advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, he has approved increases in police establishments with effect from 1st April 1989 as shown in the following table. The table also shows posts which my right honourable friend would be prepared to approve for Stage II Probationer Training for constables, due for introduction in mid-1989, provided the police authorities apply formally for these posts and guarantee their readiness to meet their share of the costs.

Force Post approved Training posts yet to be formally approved
Avon and Somerset 20
Bedfordshire 16
Cambridgeshire 15 3
Cheshire 8
Cleveland 9 6
Cumbria 9 3
Devon and Cornwall 15 4
Dorset 22
Durham 14 4
Essex 15 8
Greater Manchester 45
Gwent 5 7
Hampshire 20
Hertfordshire 20
Humberside 20
Kent 27
Lancashire 8 7
Leicestershire 18 9
Merseyside 22
Norfolk 24
Northamptonshire 12 3
Northumbria 30
North Wales 4
North Yorkshire 10 5
Nottinghamshire 16 8
South Wales 18 10
South Yorkshire 16 11
Staffordshire 16 6
Surrey 6 4
Sussex(1) 17
Thames Valley 44
Warwickshire 7 4
West Mercia 28

Force Post approved Training posts yet to be formally approved
West Midlands 62
West Yorkshire 20 12
Wiltshire 7 4
(1) Includes approval for three posts at Gatwick airport, where the costs are reimbursed and which were previously held supernumerary to establishment.

Seventy per cent. of the posts approved will be deployed on operational duties identified by chief constables, mainly at constable level. My right honourable friend has also retained 20 posts for allocation to regional crime squads specifically for their work in connection with drugs. We await consideration of the results of a review of the manpower needs of the drugs wings of the regional crime squads before making a decision on their specific allocation.

In a number of cases, my right honourable friend's approval of extra police posts for forces is conditional either on the police authority's confirmation that their share of funding is available or that the posts specifically identified for training will be so deployed by the chief constable. In some cases, my right honourable friend requires confirmation on both points.

My right honourable friend hopes to be able to confirm the Metropolitan Police posts before Easter.