National figures are not available but I would refer the hon. Member to the statistics for a number of forces set out on page 313 of the First Report from the Estimates Committee 1966–67. These show that about one-third of the total duty time in those forces was taken up by on-the-beat duties; it is more difficult to draw conclusions about the time spent on administrative work.
Could the Home Secretary express an opinion about the suggestion in the Report of the Police Manpower Working Party that there should be appointed at a high level civilian administrative officers to police authorities to start a structure of service which would relieve policemen of routine paper work?
I am anxious to follow up all the recommendations of that Working Party dealing with the use of civilians of both high and less high qualifications where they can usefully relieve the police of duties which can be done without police training in a general sense.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the proportionate volume of police time which is occupied in regulating traffic, and consider whether, in those circumstances, in the highly efficient police force that we want, some of those duties might not be allocated in a different way and so augment the police service generally?
Yes. I am also aware of the value of traffic wardens in relieving the police of some duties and of the possible desirability of extending their powers and functions.