A.R.P. Personnel, Westminster.

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence. – in the House of Commons on 22nd January 1942.

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Photo of Mr James de Rothschild Mr James de Rothschild , Isle of Ely

asked the Home Secretary why certain air-raid precautions workers belonging to the City of Westminster air-raid precautions service, who showed their efficiency as incident officers under severe conditions during heavy raids last year, are now to be replaced in these positions by men of far less experience; and whether this down-grading is the result of failure to pass a theoretical examination?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

Further training has been given in Westminster with a view to wardens qualifying for the incident officer's badge approved by the Regional Commissioners and certain wardens have been given their badges. The badges have been awarded only to those wardens who showed the necessary qualities of leadership, initiative and knowledge of the incident officer's duties. No one who displayed these qualities either during the training or during last year's air raids has been refused a badge. I understand no theoretical examination was held.

Photo of Mr James de Rothschild Mr James de Rothschild , Isle of Ely

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is grave dissatisfaction among Westminster wardens on the point and that his answer will not satisfy them? There is a number of wardens who showed great initiative and courage in the blitz last year who failed to pass this examination. Will the right hon. Gentleman see that "old school tie" methods are abandoned in the A.R.P. Service?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I shall be much obliged if the hon. Member will supply me with concrete evidence of his allegations, and I shall be glad to look into them.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Kilmarnock

Does the right hon. Gentleman say that none of these workers was refused a badge?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I cannot be expected to know the basis of the award of badges to the whole Civil Defence personnel by local authorities, but I will look into any concrete evidence.