Since 30th September, 1951, 4,733 men have joined the police forces in England and Wales, and, after taking account of wastage, the net increase in strength has been over 2,400 men. For the forces generally, the steady, if not spectacular, improvement which followed the introduction of improved rates of pay last August continues. I have no reason to think that appointing authorities are neglecting any reasonable steps in the discharge of their responsibilities. The position is kept under constant review.
Does not the present shortage of police result in the police forces of the country being very much overworked and consequently seriously handicapped in their anti-criminal activities? Is the Home Secretary satisfied that the conditions of service in the police are sufficiently attractive to offer good career prospects from the point of view of young men or young women contemplating joining it?
Yes, I am satisfied that the police force today offers an excellent career with chances of improvement of position, education and personal outlook, and of rising to the highest appointments. I believe that the best method of recruitment is from the members of the force themselves, who can explain those advantages. My experience after nine months is that we are getting a good type of recruit. I hope that the improvement in the figures will continue.
In view of the statement of the Home Secretary that he believes the best type of recruitment comes from the police thmselves and their families, does he think it encouraging that the Association of Municipal Corporations' Police Committee have made a statement, which has been published, that whatever steps he takes through his own Police Council to deal with matters on which no agreement has yet been reached, they will not be prepared to give to his Department the assistance to which it is entitled if he takes a certain decision?
I hope that all bodies represented on the Police Council will co-operate to get agreement on the matters outstanding in the Oaksey Report. I should prefer not to make adverse comment on what has been said, but to appeal to them to try on Monday and in the future, to make their co-operation effective.
Do I understand from that answer that the Police Council will be meeting on Monday? If so, may I be allowed to assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that we reciprocate the views he has just expressed?