Police Recruitment (Hampshire)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 2 July 2001.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 2:30, 2 July 2001

I welcome the Minister to his new responsibilities. Does he agree that police morale is at the heart of the recruitment and retention problems both in Hampshire and across the country? Is he aware that there has been a very large increase every year in the number of officers who voluntarily resign from the regular police service and that the number of special constables—which is down by one third since 1997—has collapsed?

Does the Minister not understand why police are demoralised? Does he understand that they are demoralised when they see criminals who have been convicted and sentenced to months of imprisonment released in just weeks? Does he understand that they are demoralised when it takes them a whole shift to do the paperwork for one arrest? Does he understand that the time-wasting bureaucracy of the best value system as it currently operates is wasting police officers' time behind desks when they could be out on the streets doing their jobs?