Police Duties

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th January 1967.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 26th January 1967

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated proportion of time spent by the police in England and Wales on administrative duties and on-the-beat duties, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

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.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

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?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

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.

Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East

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?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

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.