The Regulations of the Metropolitan Police, like the Regulations of other police forces, forbid members of the force to accept any gratuity without the consent of the Commissioner of Police. Hitherto, the Commissioner has allowed members of the force on duty in the Houses of Parliament to receive the gratuities referred to by the hon. Member, but after consultation with myself he decided this year that this practice should be discontinued. Arrangements have accordingly been made that the sums which were formerly given to the individual officers should be paid into the Commissioners' central fund for police charities and amenities.
As I stated in this House in the general Debate on the Police Bill, it is essential that gratuities of all kinds to individual officers, which lead to very grave difficulties, should be discontinued; and I think that if the House of Commons would realise that this money is being contributed in the main for the benefit of the whole force—
is it not a fact that this custom has obtained in this House for a long period of time and that these contributions are made for services rendered in this House; and why should they be put into some common fund?
Is it not a fact that it has been proved highly undesirable throughout the whole country that any form of gratuities should be given to the police, and is it not therefore time that this House should set an example in the matter?
It is not the practice to appoint the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for a stated term, and no period was specified in the case of Lord Trenchard. Under the Police Pensions Act, 1921, the age of compulsory retirement of the Commissioner is 65, sub-to extension in the interests of efficiency for not more than five years. Any pension to which Lord Trenchard may be entitled would depend on a number of factors which will not be determined until he retires. He was 60 years of age in February last.
There are 32 superintendents and 36 chief inspectors in the force. Twenty-five superintendents are already 50 and 22 chief inspectors are already 47. Three superintendents and 10 chief inspectors will reach the ages of 50 and 47 respectively during the next three years.
The provisions of the order referred to are not completely stated in the hon. Member's question. The position is that the cases of those superintendents and chief inspectors who have attained the ages of 50 and 47, respectively, who are in receipt of the maximum pay of their rank and who are entitled to pension at the maximum rate of two-thirds of pay, are being examined in order to decide whether, in the in- terests of the general efficiency of the force, they should be required to retire under the powers given by Section 1 (2) of the Police Pensions Act, 1921.
asked the Home Secretary whether in future it is proposed to appoint any inspector in the Metropolitan Police Force who has passed the age of 4.3 to the rank of chief inspector; how many of the present inspectors will have passed that age in the next three years; and how many of these under present arrangements will be deprived of the prospects of promotion?
There are 32 superintendents, 36 chief inspectors and 676 other inspectors now serving. The measures which are being taken under Section 1 (2) of the Police Pensions Act, 1921, during the period of reorganisation affect five superintendents and eight chief inspectors, and may affect six more superintendents and 16 more chief inspectors during the next three years. No maximum age for promotion has been laid down for any of these ranks.
asked the Home Secretary the ages of the present assistant commissioners of the Metropolitan Police; the retiring age of their rank; the term of their respective appointments z what pensions they will be entitled to on retirement; and what previous police service they had before their present appointments?
The Deputy Commissioner is 57 and the other three assistant commissioners are 53, 52 and 49 respectively. The age of compulsory retirement applying to them is 65, and they have been appointed to serve until that age unless voluntarily they retire earlier. If they serve as assistant commissioners until the age of 65 one would receive a pension of £1,200 a year, two pensions of £1,000 a year, and one a pension of £800 a year. The Deputy Commissioner had 22 years and the assistant commissioners respectively 30, 14 and 12 years previous service in connection with the force before appointment to the posts which they now hold.
Does it not appear anomalous, to say the least of it, that most of the assistant commissioners should be over 50 years of age and that 50 should be regarded as a reasonable retiring age for everybody underneath
asked the Home Secretary whether it is the intention not, to promote in the future any officer who is over the age of 44 to the rank of superintendent in the Metropolitan Police Force; and whether he will state how many of the 38 chief inspectors will by this means be deprived of the chance of promotion?
asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the form in which recruitment for the Police College and short-term service men will take place; whether it has yet commenced;; if not, when it is expected to; and whether he will state the terms on which engagements will be offered to such candidates?
I am not yet in a position to make any statement on the subject of recruitment to the College, but when arangements are complete they will be announced in the Press. As regards short-term service, recruitment of constables will start shortly and the terms of engagement will be similar to those for long-term service, except that promotion will only be attainable to the rank of sergeant and retirement with a gratuity after 10 years' service will be provided for. A Press announcement will be issued on this matter also.
asked the Home Secretary whether the appointment of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is a full time and full pay appointment; whether his attention has been drawn to the engagement of the present commissioner on inspection duties of the Royal Air Force; and whether such duties call for the special appointment of a deputy or assistant at New Scotland Yard during such times?
Lord Trenchard's appointment as Commissioner of Police is a full-time appointment. With regard to the second part of the question, the facts are that he was invited to visit one of the depots of the Royal Air Force on the 25th July and that he accepted the invitation. It has long been customary to invite distinguished officers to pay visits of that kind; it is an honour to them, and I cannot think that any exception can reasonably be taken to the spending of a few hours in that way. No special appointment at New Scotland Yard was required on the occasion referred to.