Police Recruitment

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th January 2001.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:00 am, 8th January 2001

I am happy to look closely at the hon. Gentleman's figures, but the official figures published at the end of last month show that by September last year, police numbers in the Thames Valley and, for example, in Devon and Cornwall, were higher than in March 1997. As for the pay of officers who work close to London—this is not relevant to all officers in the Thames Valley police force because it covers a huge geographical area of three counties—not only do we understand the problem, but we have ensured that funds are available to increase the pay of officers who work outside the Met area but within a 30-mile radius of London by £2,000, and the pay of those who work in the 30 to 40-mile radius by £1,000.

I regret that that offer is stalled in the Police Negotiating Board, just as the previous and very welcome offer to increase the pay of Metropolitan police officers by £3,300—which is at long last being paid—was also stalled in the PNB because the staff insisted on going to arbitration. I very much hope that common sense will prevail and that the PNB, which is not directly controlled, will agree the money so that it can be paid to Thames Valley officers.