I do indeed agree with the hon. Gentleman. I have always maintained that police officers deserve to be rewarded properly for the very considerable risks that they run on our behalf and for the difficult and dangerous job that they do.
I think that most police officers will react to those reports in much the same way as my hon. Friend and I react to them. The courts have powers to commit young offenders who are clearly out of control to the care of local authorities, which can ensure that they are detained in secure accommodation. The powers of the courts to deal with such young offenders will be much increased when the operative provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 are in force.
Given the considerable cost of employing police officers, does the Home Secretary agree that it is very important to ensure that they are employed on police duties and not on minding remand or convicted prisoners in police cells? Given the many occasions on which his predecessors have condemned the practice of holding prisoners in police cells from that Dispatch Box, can the Home Secretary tell us when the practice will stop, at least in Greater Manchester?
I very much hope that it will stop as soon as possible. We have provided a great deal of additional prison accommodation. I do not like the practice of detaining prisoners in police cells any more than the hon. Gentleman and I hope that we will be able to stop it quite soon. It occurs much less now than in the past.