HC Deb 12 March 1970 vol 797 cc1532-3
2. Mr. Ogden

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an official visit to Liverpool and Merseyside.

Mr. Callaghan

Yes. I have accepted an invitation to address the Liverpool Council of Social Service next month.

Mr. Ogden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that answer is most welcome since it will give him an opportunity to see for himself how effective has been the support which he and his Department have given to the Liverpool and Merseyside police forces? Will he also take the opportunity to confirm that the under-manning allowance which has been paid to the Liverpool police forces will continue to be paid?

Mr. Callaghan

I can answer my hon. Friend's last point in the affirmative. As to the first part of his supplementary question, the Liverpool Council of Social Services is one of the strongest and best staffed in the country. It is concerned with getting to the roots of such problems as vandalism and the maintenance of municipal housing, which are invaluable in assisting the police to keep down crime.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Will the right hon. Gentleman take the first opportunity to make a further official visit to Haverford-west, where he might explain to farmers—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This Question is about Merseyside.

Mr. Tilney

When the right hon. Gentleman discusses police matters with the chief constable, will he consider suggesting to him the possibility of recruiting a separate force for traffic purposes only, thereby saving 10 per cent. of the police force and having more policemen on the beat?

Mr. Callaghan

I know that there is a great desire—and certainly it is my policy—that more police should be engaged on crime work. That is why there has been such a substantial increase in the number of traffic wardens and civilians employed in this force. As I said on a previous occasion about Liverpool, it has been a concern of mine for many years. I have looked up the records. The last time that the force was up to strength was 40 years ago. I would like an opportunity to discuss the matter with the chief constable while I am there.