HC Deb 12 July 1973 vol 859 cc1863-922

7.25 p.m.

Mrs. Shirley Williams (Hitchin)


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Order. It is not possible for the hon. Lady to speak against the background of noise. Will hon. Members please leave the Chamber quietly.

Mrs. Williams

I beg to move, That this House notes with concern the continuing rise in crime; affirms that the police should have adequate manpower to perform their duties; and deplores Her Majesty's Government's failure to deal with serious under-manning in certain police forces, notably the Metropolitan Police.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I remind the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the Amendment in the name of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends—in line 2, leave out from duties ' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: endorses Her Majesty's Government's decision to give a higher priority over the last three years to policies for the support of law and order; and in particular welcomes the success of these policies in bringing about a substantial increase in the strength of the police service and further welcomes the present indications of their success in combating crime".

Mrs. Williams

The House has set a very useful precedent in the last few minutes, one which, in my view, should apply to the motion we are now debating. I live in hopes that this will be so.

This debate concerns an issue at least as important as that which we have just debated; namely, the issue of police manpower and of law and order.

I begin by quoting a remark which was made in a somewhat wild flight of fancy by the present Lord Chancellor, then the Shadow Home Secretary and right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone when he said in Eastbourne on 23rd February 1970, in a speech which clearly had one eye on the forthcoming election campaign— The permissive and lawless society is a byproduct of Socialism. I make no comment on the permissiveness of society, but I am bound to say that society is rather more lawless today than it was in 1970. The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say: There must be more police and if need be we must pay more for them. His attitude was one, as so often in these matters, of over-simplification.

The truth is that no party has any simple answers to the problems of law and order. They are far more complex than any political slogan could possibly suggest. I therefore trust that in this debate hon. Members on both sides will consider seriously what steps can be taken to improve law and order, not least in those areas which are suffering from serious undermanning of the police force, and that there will be no attempt to put forward simple dogmatic solutions of that kind. As we all know, the figures of crime have steadily risen year by year since the war. In 1972 there were 1,335,000 indictable offences in England and Wales. In London alone there were, in addition, 355,445.

The most encouraging thing that anyone can say in the House tonight is that the rate of increase has slightly slowed, as indeed it has slowed slightly in several recent years. In England and Wales outside London, the increase was 1.2 per cent. In the Metropolitan district of London it was 4.1 per cent. That is encouraging, and we on this side readily accept it.

What is less encouraging is that within that overall figure certain types of crime are still growing with dangerous rapidity. In the provinces violence against the person, the type of crime that arouses most public concern, increased by no less than 12.5 per cent. last year. Robbery and robbery with assault, another type of serious crime, increased by the frightening figure of 21.55 per cent. outside London. Within London the increase for woundings and serious assaults was 7 per cent., for muggings 32 per cent., for robbery 15 per cent. Indeed, the only encouraging figure in serious crime in London is that for murder and attempted murder, which showed a decline of about 10 per cent. in 1972 against 1971.

Of course, we ask immediately: what steps can be taken to reduce the level of crime and, above all, of crime against the person involving violence? Anyone who has studied the matter seriously is bound to be impressed by the concentration of police strength and police quality on serious crime. It is, above all, here that the police exercise a growing capacity in technological matters in which the level and quality of detection are constantly rising and in which the police show remarkable standards which are not always widely understood by the general public.

Of course, if we are to require the police to cope with this constant rise in crime, particularly violent crime, and if we expect them at the same time to deal with demonstrations, with individual acts of offence of one sort or another, and with the steadily rising flow of traffic it is our duty as a society to provide the best possible conditions, to provide adequate salaries and the sort of backing that they need to undertake this work. The overall position of the police in England and Wales is relatively encouraging as the Home Secretary will no doubt tell us. Since reorganisation small police forces have disapeared and, although at the time the reorganisation undoubtedly created a great deal of worry, there is little doubt but that the better promotion prospects for policemen have led to an encouraging improvement in recruitment to the reorganised provincial forces.

The total net strength of the provincial forces in England and Wales increased by 2,545 which was an impressive level of recruitment, but not the highest, which occurred in 1967, when 3,004 additional policemen were recruited. The better use of civilians to support the police has continued. There was almost a doubling between 1964 and 1970 of civilian assistants to the police, and there has been a further increase from the 15,135 of 1970 to the 17,057 of 1972. However, it would be wrong to pass over the position in the provincial forces without recognising that there are still areas which give cause for considerable concern. There is an overal deficiency of about 9 per cent., and in 17 out of the 47 provincial forces there is a deficiency of over 10 per cent.

Some of the more serious cases are as follows. The West Midlands has vacancies totalling 520 with a police force of 1,875—a deficiency of over a quarter. In Birmingham the deficiency is well over 15 per cent., and in West Yorkshire it is about 16 per cent., with 760 vacancies and a strength of 4,459. In some ways the worrying feature of the provincial scene is that it is in the areas of heaviest industrial development, in the conurbations such as Birmingham and the West Midlands, that the position is the most serious.

It is fair to say that this position is unlikely by itself to improve, because the provincial forces, like the Metropolitan force, are moving into a period in which normal retirements will reach a peak. The increase expected in normal retirements over the next five years for men with 30 years' service will combine with the attempt to try to man up the undermanned police forces and also to establish a basic 40-hour week—something which is enjoyed in most industries of a less taxing nature. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary says in his current report that this will require a substantial all-round recruiting effort. But it is in the area which is peculiarly the responsibility of the Home Secretary that there is a situation of deepening crisis. London has many special policing requirements. More than a quarter of recorded crime occurs within the boundaries of the Metropolitan Police District. In addition, much of the serious crime—the highly organised crime involving such things as bank robberies—takes place in the capital. The police also have to cope to a much greater extent than police forces elsewhere with demonstrations. There were no fewer than 470 last year, the handling of which by the police has occasioned a considerable degree of praise in the international press, and in which the police are asked to exercise patience which I shall show is almost too much to ask of them in the conditions in which they now have to work.

London is also the centre for embassies, and in the last two years the protection duties that fall upon the Metropolitan Police have increased dramatically because of the attacks on embassies, because of the threats to them and because international terrorist movements see embassies as possible targets. The police in the Metropolitan area also have ceremonial functions and a particularly large flow of visitors. The Lord Chancellor in the speech to which I referred accused my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition of "fiddling while Rome burns". He was talking about the crime levels in London and about what he regarded as the irresponsibility of the then Government in dealing with them. If London is Rome, it is certainly burning.

A glance into history shows that under all Governments the Metropolitan Police has been relatively neglected. In 1939 there were 47,000 policemen and policewomen in the provincial forces. In 1972 that had risen to 72,000—an increase of 51 per cent. In 1939 there were 19,000 constables and other officers in the Metropolitan Police. In 1972 there were 21,000—an increase of just over 10 per cent. This neglect of the Metropolitan Police has continued, and the current figures represent a most serious situation. That is why we have brought it to the attention of the House. Out of the authorised strength of 26,049 officers the Metropolitan Police has vacancies for 5,031, a deficiency of over 23 per cent. Between 1st April 1972 and 1st April 1973 the Metropolitan Police lost 263 men and gained 23 women, a net decline of 240.

Wastage rates have speeded up disturbingly in the last three years. Between April and July 1973, in addition to the net loss I have explained, no fewer than 165 officers left the Metropolitan Police. If this rate of loss were to continue it would be the equivalent of losing a complete division of Metropolitan Police officers by the end of this year.

Another indication of the size of the crisis is the transfers in and out of the Metropolitan and other police forces. En 1972 there were 52 transfers in from the provinces but there were 172 transfers out. The figure has rocketed disturbingly. In the six months to June the number of transfers out was no fewer than 152. For the period April 1972 to April 1973 there were 533 voluntary resignations by police officers in London—not for retirement but from their own choice. Out of that total no fewer than 365 had between two and ten years' service. The were experienced officers with a long period of service ahead of them, men the force could ill afford to lose. We have to ask why this situation has occurred. It is no comfort to an old lady who is being mugged in the streets of London to be told that she would be safe upon the streets of Bournemouth, Bediington or Bishop Auckland.

Why has the situation been allowed not only to reach that position but to deteriorate so disastrously in the past 12 months? The first reason is very simple. The London allowance is only £50. It has not been increased since 1966. That means that at a time when the cost of living has doubled in the seven years from 1966 to 1973 there has been no increase in the London allowance. There has been an under-manning allowance for the Metropolitan Police of £65, making £115 in all. Only the London allowance is pensionable, not the under-manning allowance.

The Government might argue that this was an impossible field in which to move because for a considerable period, understandably in the light of the difficulties of achieving national police rates, there was a sharp division of opinion among the organisations representative of the police between provincial forces and the London force about a London allowance. That is no longer so. At its most recent conference the Police Federation came out strongly for a massive increase in the London allowance. If a little later in the debate my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris), who follows these matters closely, catches the eye of the Chair, he will be able to say a great deal more about that and about the attitude of the Police Federation.

Incidentally, even if the police themselves had not changed their minds completely on the issue, the Home Secretary is not bound by the consultative status of the Police Council. I trust that in the light of the changed attitude of the police he will move rapidly to deal with this aspect of the crisis.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

There is a differential in the housing allowance, which is up to £500 a year more in London compared with other places.

Mrs. Williams

The hon. Gentleman has pre-empted the next thing I was going to say. I was just about to turn to the housing allowance in London, which lies closely within the province of the Home Secretary. The housing allowance in London for a police constable is a maximum of £10 per week. It was last increased on 1st January 1971 by 35 per cent. for police constables, falling to as little as 16 per cent. for chief superintendents. Therefore, 35 per cent. is the maximum figure. But since 1st January 1971 the price of houses in London—I have just checked this—has increased by 109.5 per cent. There have been two years in which the cost of housing has doubled in London, and there has been not a penny increase in the housing allowance to the London constable.

Even worse than that, the maximum that the Metropolitan Police Friendly Society can allow in mortgage for a house, on the basis of a police constable's starting salary, is £6,400. The average price of a two-bed-roomed London house is now £12,743, twice the amount of mortgage that will be allowed to a police constable. So desperately apart are those figures that only a chief superintendent with over 10 years' service would be allowed, on the basis of his present income, a mortgage equivalent to the average cost of a house in London. That is an appalling position for us to find ourselves in.

A good measure of the situation is the fact that mortgage demands on the society have dropped from 815 in 1971 to only 171 in the current year. Although admittedly I am taking a half year's figures, that shows that there is a steady decline in mortgage demands, because policemen can no longer afford to buy a house.

What does a situation in which recruitment is falling, in a force which is already nearly a quarter under strength, really mean? For the average policeman it means an incredible degree of work. I am not sure whether the House realises the strain being put upon policemen in the Metropolitan force. They work a 46-hour week. That is the basic expectation. That means that in every period of rest days three rest days are automatically cancelled every month. The police frequently lose some of the remaining rest days each month as well. Those rest days are then re-rostered, but many policemen feel that they are chasing an endlessly disappearing pot of gold over the horizon, because re-rostered rest days are very hard to come by.

The police in London are required to do unlimited overtime. They work on shifts. Some of them are working 59 and 60 hours a week—those are official figures—but there are individuals who work very much longer hours. When we say that, we say it of men who, over and above the hours they normally work, may have a rest day cancelled, not like us, at perhaps a week's notice, but in some cases at 24 hours' or 12 hours' notice. That puts a strain on their family lives which has not surprisingly driven many men out of the force.

Even that degree of strain, of overtime, of demand upon men who may, for example, even after working 59 or 60 hours a week find that they have made an arrest and will be called into court the following morning, which may be their first rest day for four or five weeks, has not undermined the success of the police in dealing in London with major crime. There have been some encouraging developments recently, such as the decline in the number of bank robberies.

However, what the situation necessarily means is that the police must neglect a whole range of less significant crime, but crime which is still significant to the individual affected, in the interests of manning up detective services and the rest to deal with highly-organised crime. That emerges from the difference in clear-up rates, the bulk of it I fully accept in the less serious crime, of 49.9 per cent. for the provincial force and 30.3 per cent. for the Metropolitan force.

The Metropolitan force is now so overstrained that it cannot undertake the preventive work, the steady patrol of the beat, that is a necessary part of the effective and good policing of what the Home Secretary so much likes to call freedom under the law.

I believe that the solution now lies in the Home Secretary's hands. London is the area for which he is directly responsible. The solution lies in accepting what the Police Federation has said about the need for a massively increased London allowance. It lies in accepting a London housing allowance which begins to match the inflation of housing prices in London. It lies in recruiting to a level at which police officers in London will not be expected to work hours which no human being, let alone one in a job requiring patience, judgment and good temper, should be asked to do.

I do not accuse the Holm, Secretary, because he is not given to making wild statements, but I return to where I started. The Lord Chancellor said that the first responsibility to the country was to increase the police forces and to pay for that increase if necessary. I acquit the Home Secretary of any charge of having failed to do that in most of the provincial areas, though the West Midlands needs looking at.

I conclude by giving the House some figures. I trust that the Government, which are so often described as the party of law and order, will take them very much to heart. In the 13 years of Conservative Government from 1951 to 1964 the increase in manpower of the Metropolitan Police was 2,409. In the six years of Labour Government from 1964 to 1970 the increase was 2,876. In other words, in those six years the increase was greater than in the previous 13 years. In the three years that the Conservative Government have been in office there has been an increase of only 151 in the net strength of the Metropolitan force. What an amazing record to put forward!

7.51 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Robert Carr)

I beg to move to leave out from "duties" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: ; endorses Her Majesty's Government's decision to give a higher priority over the last three years to policies for the support of law and order; and in particular welcomes the success of these policies in bringing about a substantial increase in the strength of the police service and further welcomes the present indications of their success in combating crime In the course of my speech I shall give a number of facts to the House, some of which will be new, which will give encouragement and also the lie to the rather over-gloomy figures and prognostications of the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) about the present crime situation. I shall be glad to report that there are at last signs of a distinct turn-round in the depressing trend of post-war years.

I welcome the debate. It is right and important that the House should unite in expressing its concern at the current volume of crime. It is right that we should do that and find time for it because in doing so we are expressing a concern which is felt by many people in London and throughout the country.

It is also right and important that both sides of the House should unite in recog- nising the need for the police to have adequate manpower. I hope that we can underline as much as possible our unity on these matters. It is because of that hope that I particularly regret the second half of the Opposition's motion. It introduces party division and rancour on a subject and at a time when Parliament both could and should speak with a united and non-partisan voice.

Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney Central)

Just like the Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Carr

A motion censuring the present Government on police recruitment comes singularly ill from a party which, when in Government a few years ago, deliberately and as a matter of policy restricted police recruitment at a most critical time. I shall remind the House of the last Government's policy by reading one or two passages from a circular sent out in January 1968 by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), who was then Secretary of State for the Home Department in the Labour Government.

I draw the attention of the House to the part of the circular which said: the total strength of the service"— that is the police service"— has now reached a point where it is not necessary for unrestrained recruitment to continue indefinitely. Moreover, the Government's policy of restraint in public expenditure makes it necessary to ask police authorities to reconsider the present recruitment levels of both police officers and civilians. The circular said in paragraph 4: The aim is that the aggregate strength of police officers throughout England and Wales in the period 1st January 1968 to 31st March 1969 should increase by not more than 1,200. Later in paragraph 4 the circular said: All forces should continue to attest cadets when they reach the qualifying age, but they must be accommodated within the foregoing arrangements. Paragraph 6, which referred to civilians supporting the police, said: In general, during 1968–69 there should be no increase of civilian employees over the number now in post.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

But what happened?

Mr. Carr

That deliberate restriction of police recruitment was made at the end of a year when crime had been rising at almost double the rate at which it was rising last year. It was made at a time when police manpower was some 10.000 less than it is today. And the hon. Member for Hitchin had the effrontery to talk about deficiencies.

Mrs. Shirley Williams


Mr. Carr

Just let the hon. Lady wait a moment. It was her right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East who, when he was Secretary of State for the Home Department, denied a shortage of manpower. If the hon. Lady has forgotten, let her turn to HANSARD of 15th February 1968, when her right hon. Friend said: I do not accept that the police force is 17,839 short of the numbers it requires."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1968; Vol. 758, c. 1556.] That was the deficiency on the same basis of establishment to which the hon. Lady has referred. That deficiency, thank heavens, is much smaller today than it was then. It was the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East who made that denial.

Mrs. Williams

In that case, why was it that the year to which the right hon. Gentleman is referring—1968—was one of the best years for recruitment by the Metropolitan Police? The right hon. Gentleman did not mention that my right hon. Friend excluded all undermanned police forces from his ban and that 2,400 additional civilians were recruited between 1968 and 1969.

Mr. Carr

If those civilians were recruited, they were recruited in direct contravention of the circular and the policy issued by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. If they were recruited, that recruitment took place with no help and assistance from the Labour Government. Such recruitment would have been directly in contradiction to their instructions to local authorities.

As far as I know, I do not believe—my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State will confirm what I say, or if there are one or two exceptions he will tell the House—that there are any police forces today in England and Wales which are not stronger in numbers than they were when the Government took office three years ago. That includes, contrary to what the hon. Member for Hitchin said, the Metropolitan Police.

The Labour Government deliberately restricted police recruitment—

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House the figures?

Mr. Carr

I have just given the chapter and verse. I will give the figures in a moment. The Conservative Government, from the moment they came to office, deliberately encouraged and expanded police recruitment. In 1968 and 1969, the last two complete years of Labour government after the deliberate restriction was imposed, police numbers in England and Wales increased by only 1,100. In 1971 and 1972, the first two complete years of the Conservative Government, police numbers in England and Wales increased not by 1,100 but by 5,900—more than five times as much. How can the Labour Party, which so deliberately and successfully cut down police recruitment, censure this Government which have so deliberately and successfully expanded police recruitment in the past three years?

I must remind the hon. Lady that she was Minister of State at the Home Office during part of that disastrous period. From the moment the Conservative Party came to power, we began to implement our decision to give much higher priority than the Labour Government had done to policies for the support of law and order and, above all, the support of the police. The hon. Lady quoted my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor in a speech he made when still a Member of this House. He said that we must have more police and, if necessary, we must pay for them. That is exactly what the Government have done.

In 1970 the police had an increase in pay of 16 per cent., well above what other people were getting at that time. It was an increase specially designed in size and mode of application by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), who was then Home Secretary, to encourage recruitment and reduce wastage. In 1971 there was an interim increase of 6½ per cent. Last October there was an increase, dating back to September 1972, of another 15 per cent. While I am not for a moment claiming that the increase in pay over these three years of Conservative Government have been as much as the Police Federation and other representative organisations sincerely believed they were entitled to, it is true to say that over the past three years the pay of the police has been significantly improved relative to most other groups in the community.

That is an undeniable fact and it is one of the main reasons why the increase in the strength of the police in the first two years of the Conservative Government was over five times as great as the increase in the last two years of the Labour Government.

Mr. Neville Sandelson (Hayes and Harlington)

Will the right hon. Gentleman at least concede that in the year ended 1972, far from there being an increase in the strength of the Metropolitan Police, there was a net decrease of about 60 men? That being so, and bearing in mind the special problems we face in the Metropolis, will he not also concede that special measures and increases in remuneration are required if we are to get anywhere near tackling the problem?

Mr. Carr

I will come to that point. The motion tabled by the Opposition is cast in general terms and refers at the end to the Metropolitan Police. I will come to that later. Important though London is, and I am a London Member, it has to be remembered that the whole country is also important. What we did with police pay was one tangible indication of the higher priority, as our amendment says, which the present Government have given to policies supporting law and order and the police in particular.

I want to mention two or three indications. First of all there is the question of probation officers. I am sure the House would agree that these are very important. When the Government came to power the maximum permitted number of probation officers in England and Wales was 3,500 and there were about 3,300 in post. As a result of what the Government have done, there are now 4,100 probation officers in post and the establishment ceiling has been raised to 5,000 for 1975 and to 5,350 for 1976. That is another sign of the higher priority which this Government give to law and order.

I come now to the prison building programme. In 1969–70, the last year of the Labour Government, the prison building programme permitted the start of 80 new prison places. Last year and this year, the prison building programme of the Government has permitted the start of more than 2,000 new prison places—not 80, but more than 2,000. That is another indication of the higher priority given to the whole subject of law and order.

Consider the law itself. The Criminal Justice Act 1972, while not perfect, is generally admitted to represent a major forward movement in the criminal law in the interests of law and order. It increased the penalties for serious firearm offences up to and including life imprisonment for the most serious offences. It also introduced new concepts. It gave new powers to the courts to order "big time" criminals to pay compensation. It introduced new forms of non-custodial treatment for the courts to use, such as community work and day training. Earlier today at Question Time the hon. Lady was generous enough to pay tribute—this is an all-party matter, I am glad to say—to the initial signs of the success of those new forms of treatment.

In the law, too, we have given priority to the pursuit of policies of law and order. There is no doubt that the Government have implemented in a massive manner the commitment to give higher priorities to policies for the support of law and order. That is what we ask the House to endorse in the first part of our amendment.

Probably no other Government, Conservative or Labour, in the lifetime of most of us has given such high priority to tackling crime, supporting the police and developing policies for the protection of law and order. This policy is now producing results. We see this first in the increased strength of the police. The numbers of police in England and Wales rose by almost 6,000 in the first two complete years of this Government, five times more than in the last two years of the Labour Government.

In February the number of regular police officers in England and Wales topped the 100,000 mark for the first time in our history. It is not only the number of police officers which has risen. It is also the number of wardens and other civilian staff who support the police and free them to do the real police work which only police officers can do. Since the last General Election the number of civilian support staff in England and Wales has risen by 7,700, another substantial strengthening of police capacity.

Look at the issue in financial terms. Expressed in that way, the higher priority which the Government have given to the police is shown by the fact that at constant prices expenditure on the police in 1973–74 is £76 million higher than it was in 1969–70. The total is now £484 million and represents an increase in real terms of about 20 per cent. since the last year of the Labour Government. The overall story of police strengths in the past two years has been one of expansion and increased effectiveness.

As the hon. Lady has pointed out, and as I have made clear in the House, the manpower position of the Metropolitan Police is something about which we should be and are concerned. We should still remember that the size of the force is a little bigger than it was three years ago and that the uniformed strength now has civilian support staff which is 3,200 more than it was three years ago. Therefore, if we take the small increase in the uniformed strength and the very big increase in the civilian support staff, I am glad to say that in manpower terms the Metropolitan Police, although far short of what I would like it to be, is significantly stronger today than it was when the Government took office.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Did the right hon. Gentleman say that there had been a 3,000 increase in civilian support staff? In answer to a Question from me on 14th June he gave the figure of 9,000 for 1970 and 10,000 for 1972.

Mr. Carr

I will ask my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State to give the exact figures when he replies. I assure the hon. Gentleman and the House that in preparing my notes I consulted detailed figures.

Mr. Lewis

I do not doubt what the right hon. Gentleman says, but if it is true it is an amazing increase in one year, and is something to which I am paying tribute.

Mr. Carr

The answer to which the hon. Gentleman has referred will be looked into before this debate is wound up and my hon. and learned Friend will deal with the point. This is something we should note.

I do not say this in order to be complacent. Had it not been for the unfortunate nature of the second half of the Opposition motion, I should not have made the comparisons as forcefully as I have done. What I am concerned about, and what the House should be concerned about, is the continuing need, because although the force is stronger than it was three years ago it is not strong enough, and what we must worry about at present is the trend in the uniformed strength. The problem is one of wastage rather than of recruitment.

In 1972 the Metropolitan Police recruited 1,183 men, which was good, but the force lost 1,232, which was bad. Therefore, there was a net loss last year of 49, but about 150 of those who left were not lost to the police service as a whole but were transferred to police forces elsewhere.

Unfortunately, this wastage has continued seriously into the current year. With the return of full employment, recruitment, although substantial this year, is not as good as last year, and thus the net numbers in the Metropolitan Police have declined by about 300 in the first half of this year. I assure the House that I am not only well aware of the situation but I am also taking it very seriously.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that someone will be given the task of asking those men who are leaving the force for their reasons for doing so? I intend to deal later with some of their reasons, but there are reasons, concerning particularly criminal investigation and detectives, which involve not money but other causes.

Mr. Carr

I was about to explain what we propose to do about this. First, the Commissioner is conducting a close inquiry into the causes of wastage in all branches and in all ranks and is stepping up efforts to improve the quality of man management throughout the force. Those of us who have to grapple with problems of wastage of manpower realise that the whole subject of man management is an important factor in the matter of wastage.

Secondly, a new and major recruitment campaign has just begun, the scale of which is shown by the fact that supporting advertising will cost £100,000, in addition to the central national recruitment campaign, for which advertising costs are £600,000. Thirdly, there has been a great effort over the last year or two to influence young people, and those who advise them in the choice of career, to think about the police service more than they have done in the past. This is of longer-term effect and is important for the future. We are having success in building up the size of the cadet entry. In September 1972 the cadet intake was 100 higher, in round figures, than it was in September 1971. The cadet corps is now nearly 700 strong. The percentage increase last year was pretty substantial, and that augurs well for the future.

However, I realise that central to the problem is the question of pay. Since the Government came to power, the police have had above average increases. I must make it clear that this year there can be no exception in stage 2 to the Government's counter-inflation policy. I understand that negotiations in the Police Council are advancing on that basis.

Looking to the future, I much welcome the new policy of the Police Federation to accept in principle a differential rate for the Metropolitan Police. I cannot help saying in passing how much I wish it had adopted this policy a year or two earlier, but I make no complaint about that; I simply welcome the fact that it has done it this year. It will he a matter for the Police Council, but, speaking for myself, when it is possible within the terms of the Government's counter-inflation policy, I hope that a differential rate for the Metropolitan police can be negotiated.

The hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin mentioned the important matter of rent allowances. The House has been informed that they are under review, and I cannot say more at present. However, I must repeat that in all these matters everything must conform to the Government's counter-inflation policy.

Mr. Thomas Cox (Wandsworth, Central)

The right hon. Gentleman has said that the rent allowances are under review. Will he give an assurance that the way in which the rent allowances are assessed by district valuers will also be reviewed? If he speaks to officers in London he will find that a source of great complaint is that comparable properties are assessed at a much lower rate in one borough than they are in an adjoining borough.

Mr. Carr

I know that it is a matter of concern, but as it is under review I hope that the House will excuse me for not being drawn into discussing it. I know that the question of pay is important, but the other factors of employment policy and working conditions are of great importance in recruitment and wastage. I am sure that the whole House will wish to praise the Commissioner for the new energy, initiatives and ideas which he is bringing to the Metropolitan Police—and that is no discredit to those who have gone before him. The House will wish me to pay tribute to what he and his force at all levels have done and the success that they have achieved in the fight against crime in the London area, despite the natural difficulties and the manpower shortage.

I am glad to say—this is the first news I can give and it perhaps shows that the hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin was unduly gloomy, but I do not blame her for that because she was speaking on the basis of the latest information available to her—that mugging in the London metropolitan area has decreased from 802 cases in the last six months of 1972 to 629 cases in the first six months of this year. Therefore, we are not simply saying to the old lady in London, "It will be safer if you go to Bournemouth". She was marginally safer in the first six months of this year than she was in the last six months of last year.

The picture is more encouraging in respect of the more serious crimes. For example, the number of bank robberies has fallen from seven a month in the first six months of last year to only two a month in the first six months of this year. The number of burglaries has declined. Therefore, the Metropolitan Police has a record of success for which the whole House will wish to congratulate and thank them.

That leads me to the present indications of success in combating crime over the country as a whole and to thank and congratulate the police in all force areas for what they are achieving on our behalf. After years of depressing figures, there are at last significant signs of improvement. Today I was able to announce that the number of murders was down by 14 per cent. in 1972 compared with 1971–149 against 173. I shall be publishing in the very near future the official crime figures for the first quarter of 1973. They are not yet finalised, but the provisional official figures make me believe that there will be not a small increase but a decline compared with the same period for 1972.

In 1972 the overall crime figures for the first quarter were up by 5.3 per cent. compared with the first quarter of 1971. I believe that when the figures are finalised in the near future the first quarter of 1973 will show a decrease in the overall volume of crime of between 4 and 5 per cent. compared with the same quarter in 1972. That is a real sign of hope, although no one can be sure that it will continue.

Mr. Edward Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Can my right hon. Friend say a little more about the corrected figure of 149 murders? In particular, can he say why the figure has come down to 149 from the figure of murder offences known to the police at 31st December 1972, which, at 257, was the highest figure in recorded history in England and Wales? Also, can my right hon. Friend give a corrected figure for manslaughter, including the Section 2 manslaughter charges which have been reduced from murder charges?

Mr. Carr

My hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State may be able to go into that matter in more detail. The answer to the second part of my hon. Friend's question is, I think, "Not yet", certainly "Not now." I do not have those figures with me.

The reason for the decline in the figures is that when many cases recorded as murder or suspected murder reach the courts the charge is reduced for reasons which I cannot yet analyse. Although there is a substantial reduction every year between the recorded number and the final number, it seems to be much larger this year than usual. However, I assure my hon. Friend that the number of murders in 1972, at 149, is comparable with 173 the year before.

Mr. Taylor

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the reduction this year is 108 compared with 70 last year and 50 the year before?

Mr. Carr

I think it is of that order. If my hon. Friend is wrong, I am sure that the Minister of State will correct him. The figure which I have given is the latest corrected figure and is comparable with 173 for the year before.

We must not be complacent, but at last, for the first time for many years, there is some sign that the crime tide may be ebbing rather than flowing. I am glad to tell the House that the official figures reflect the reports which have been coming in to the Home Office from chief constables since the latter part of last year. In 1972 22 police forces reported a decrease in crime compared with 1971. In the first three months of 1973 32 police forces reported a decrease in crime compared with the first quarter of last year. In the first four months of this year 36 police forces reported a decrease in crime compared with the first four months of last year.

Here is hope, but we must not—and I promise the House that we shall not—be complacent. Violence continues to be a serious and, I am sorry to say, still increasing problem. I hope and believe that if we can once turn the tide of crime as a whole from a flow into an ebb, as it appears perhaps we may have done, we shall in due course get violent crime, too, under better control. I assure the House that the Government will continue to give the highest priority to the combating of crime and the development of policies in support of law and order, and particularly in the support and strengthening of the police, as we have done over the last three years. It will not be easy, but we shall do everything we possibly can to continue the trend about which I have spoken.

8.26 p.m.

Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)

I shall try to be brief. This is an important debate in which many hon. Members on both sides of the House wish to take part. My hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) moved the motion both persuasively and in terms of moderation. As the House knows, I have the honour to act as parliamentary adviser to the Police Federation. Thus I have a special interest in this debate.

The motion refers to the serious under-manning in certain police forces, notably the Metropolitan Police. None can gainsay the seriousness of the current situation in the metropolis. I am grateful to the Minister of State and his right hon. Friend for the information they gave me yesterday in reply to parliamentary Questions. I was told that on 30th June 1973 there were 5,031 vacancies in the Metropolitan Police. I was also told that during the year ending 30th June 1973, 1,089 police officers were recruited into the Metropolitan Police Force and that the wastage figure was 1,324. The trend for wastage to exceed recruitment is extremely serious and the number of voluntary resignations is deeply disturbing.

In this debate we should be concerned not merely with figures. There is also a human story. I am sure many hon. Members appreciate that police officers, especially in the Metropolitan area, work under considerable strain. They work very long hours and are subjected to frequent weekend work. The Minister of State in a further parliamentary reply gave me the number of hours worked by various ranks in the Metropolitan Police. A detective constable on average works 59.3 hours a week. A first-class sergeant in the CID works on average 59.5 hours a week. A detective inspector works on average 58.5 hours a week and a detective chief inspector works on average 59 hours a week. Those figures are for the month of June 1972, when there was a Police Council survey.

A sample survey in the Metropolitan Police Force last September showed that the average number of hours worked each week were 50.6. These figures may come as a surprise to some hon. Members. They emphasise the considerable strain under which police officers have to dischange their onerous duties.

I have been told of police officer in the Metropolitan Police who submitted his resignation today. He is a man of some exprience in the force, but he is leaving to become a building worker. For a standard working week he will be paid £40. He will also enjoy, by contract of employment, a bonus of £12 a week. If he works overtime special benefits will be added to his basic pay of £52 a week.

Mr. Thomas Cox

Labour-only subcontracting?

Mr. Morris

I cannot say whether he will be working as a building trade unionist or with the "lump". It is, however, most disquieting that trained policemen should leave the Metropolitan force to take jobs that many would say are of less social importance for more pay. It costs a great deal of money to train a police officer. If we are to to avoid wasting public money, we must avoid the increasing wastage of trained police officers. The Home Secretary rightly said that there is no ground for complacency. I am sure that sentiment will be echoed again and again as the debate proceeds.

Let us look in more detail at the number of vacancies in the Metropolitan and other police forces.

If one were to denude the city of Manchester and the city of Liverpool entirely of police officers and transfer them to the metropolitan area, there would still be vacancies for police officers in the metropolis. Indeed, if we were to take every police officer from the whole of Wales and transfer them to the metropolitan area, we would barely meet the present requirements for manpower in the metropolis. At the latest date for which I have full figures, it would appear that Manchester and Salford, Liverpool and Bootle, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Rotherham and Bradford would be entirely without police officers if the national shortage were concentrated in those areas. I hope this fact will be taken as seriously as it should be by everybody who takes part in this debate.

The Home Secretary referred to stage 2 of the Government's prices and incomes policy. At the recent Police Federation conference, held at Blackpool, it was emphasised that the necessary radical improvement in the payment of police officers in the metropolis must be in straight addition to the impending increases in pay for police officers throughout the country. The right hon. Gentleman said that he could not depart from stage 2, but I hope that the Minister of State will make it clear in his reply that the differential pay increase for the Metropolitan Police Force will in no way reduce the money available for pay increases to police officers generally.

At the Police Federation conference it was not just Metropolitan Police men and women who argued for a differential increase. There were delegates from Wales and from many other parts of the country who said that the situation in the metropolis was so serious that there must be an immediate and substantial increase in pay for Metropolitan Police officers to stop the haemorrhage. What is required is not just an increase in pay, but that action should be taken to improve the status of police officers. I was pleased to hear the right hon. Gentleman say he regards this as important. I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree on that point.

Mr. Thomas Cox

I am interested in my hon. Friend's point. Does he not agree that this is not solely a matter of pay—although that is one of the principal issues confronting the police—but is bound up with the attitude in terms of discipline of treating the police as silly schoolboys rather than as grown-up men. From my discussions with police officers I have noted the bitter resentment among many of them at the way in which disciplinary procedures are imposed against them. They are not against discipline, but they are against the way in which they are treated.

Mr. Morris

I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Thomas Cox) has been in touch with police officers in his constituency, and I agree with him that status, like pay, is very important. We cannot expect a properly established police force unless we are prepared to pay the officers adequately. But we must also consider the way in which the police are treated in society. I have said on other occasions that police officers have their civil rights just like other people and that they are entitled to respect and status in society. I agree with what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman, and by my hon. Friend, about the need to improve pay and also conditions of employment and the general status of the police officer in society.

I said that I would be brief, and I shall now conclude my remarks. I am happy, as is the Police Federation, that this debate is taking place. I hope that its outcome will be a strengthening of the undermanned police forces to bring them to their proper establishment throughout the country—not only in London but in the West Midlands, Manchester and wherever police forces are now working below establishment. Most of all, I hope that at an early date we shall be able to end the serious haemorrhage in the metropolitan area.

8.38 p.m.

Mr. Norman Fowler (Nottingham, South)

I, too, intend to be brief and to follow the example set by the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris), to whom the House always listens with such interest on police matters.

I welcome the opportunity given to the House by the Opposition to debate this important subject—although I am a little surprised at the ground on which they have chosen to fight. Nobody would question their concern at rising crime rates, nor would anybody deny that the police force should be adequately staffed. But when the Opposition seek to deplore the Government's failure to act on police recruiting, I am bound to ask by what standards they condemn and deplore the Government, and by what right they make such an assertion.

The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) who did not mention this subject in her speech, cannot brush aside the fact that it was the last Labour Government who were the first Government in peacetime to put restrictions upon police recruiting. For the Opposition now to lament the position of the Metropolitan Police—I personally believe that it is serious—is ludicrous, because in 1968 it was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who was lamenting that the then Government's policy of restrictions, not only upon police personnel but upon civilian staff as well, meant that civilian staff in the Metropolitan Police was restricted to a total rise of 250 in the 15 months starting in 1968, which the Commissioner then said was vastly below establishment.

When the hon. Lady comes to this House and deplores this Government's attitude and policy on police recruiting I am bound to say that this Government have reversed that policy of restriction. It is not purely historical curiosity, but, however the figures are juggled and added up, it cannot be denied that in those two years the police lost men who would otherwise have come into the service. Indeed, had police recruiting continued at the level at which it was going in the two years before the restrictions were imposed, the forces today would be several thousand stronger.

What cannot be denied also is that men who were lost at that time were men who, in all probability, were lost for good. The nub of the Opposition's charge is nonsense. They know that it is nonsense, and we should all relax and have a serious debate about the police service, as the hon. Member for Wythenshawe has done. Unquestionably the police face serious problems. I suggest that what is causing these problems is the increasing complexity and the increasing demands of police work which are using up an increasing amount of police time and an increasing amount of police manpower. In the area of complaints we expect the police service properly to investigate complaints against the police. But remember what the cost of that is.

In the Metropolitan Police there is a department which is staffed by 100 experienced officers doing nothing but investigating complaints. There are one commander, five chief superintendents, 22 superintendents, 14 chief inspectors and 40 sergeants. This is not a side issue of police in society as a whole—it is an issue that we expect of the police and we readily do so. But it obviously takes them away from their traditional rôle of preventing and detecting crime.

The pressure of police work is again seen at its sharpest in the Metropolitan Police area. Detectives are faced with almost impossible case loads. Last year no fewer than 76,000 burglaries were investigated in London. On average that means that a detective has three hours to solve and clear up one burglary before moving on to the next. Faced with pressures of this kind, with these new tasks being put on the police, it is not surprising that men resign. There are easier, more profitable and less demanding ways of making a living in this country, although I would assert there are probably few ways which are, in the ultimate, more rewarding.

Employers—particularly employers in the industrial centres we are talking about in London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire—obviously value the kind of people who come into the police service because they are so outstandingly good, and it is in these areas that employers are able to recruit so well. It is there, too, that our biggest shortages are taking place. Many points have already been made on police recruiting policy generally but we should not just confine ourselves to police recruiting policy, important as that is.

First, I believe that we should examine the police critically to see whether all the rôles which they are now carrying out are rôles that the police services has to carry out. One example concerns traffic. Is it necessary for the police to police our motorways in the way that they do now? The theory is that the two rôles of the police can never be divided. However, it used to be the theory that only trained policemen could direct traffic. Whether or not that view persists, we must look very seriously at the immense amount of police manpower and time spent in our courts on traffic offences. In Germany there is a ticket system with built-in safeguards. Without commitment, that is a system that we could examine to see whether it would work in this country.

Secondly, I believe that we must improve the effectiveness of our methods of detecting crime. Increasingly we are threatened by the professional and the semi-professional criminal, especially in London, by which I mean those specialising in robbery and fraud. Only a squad which is prepared to specialise in a specific type of crime will have any success. In London, the Serious Crime Squad dealing with robbery has had a marked effect and great success. I believe that the regional crime squad concept should also be expanded and that such squads should take on crimes involving fraud and drugs.

Having said that, I believe that we should also examine the context in which the police operate, and that means the criminal law. We must see whether the traditional checks which we once considered necessary are not now aids to the professional and the semi-professional criminal. The Criminal Law Revision Committee which reported a year ago believed that they were. It believed that changes should be made. Its report was published in June 1972, and it represented several years' work by the committee. It has never been debated in this House. Obviously it is controversial, but the fact that it has not been debated is quite deplorable. It is likely to lead to the impression that this House does not take seriously—

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

Not at all.

Mr. Fowler

I think that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelsohn) will concede that at least it should be debated.

Mr. Mendelson

It is quite wrong to assert that this House does not take the report seriously. Many hon. Members have urged the Government to consider it further because of their strong objections to some of the proposals in it. It is wrong to make this charge.

Mr. Fowler

Very well. I withdraw what I said. Instead I shall make my charge against the Government for not bringing the report before the House quickly. Perhaps that will satisfy the hon. Gentleman more. My point is that this is an important report which should be debated on the Floor of the House.

My third and most important point is that we must concentrate upon raising the general status of the police service and of policemen generally. We must concentrate especially upon the man in uniform, who in many ways is doing just as complicated a job as a trained detective. We must move towards the concept of community police with policemen living in the communities that they police. This is easy enough in some areas. In others it is not so easy, especially in city centres. But it follows that if we are to move towards a concept where the police- man is carrying out a kind of general practitioner rôle the rewards must be adequate.

What worries me most about the pay structure of the police service—it has been attacked on a number of grounds—is that rewards are not given for experience. Most officers remain constables throughout their police service. Outside London the pay of a police constable goes up to £1,800 a year after six years' service. It takes him a further 11 years to get over the £2,000 mark for the first time. This structure does not seem to be geared to reward the experienced police officer. It is no way to treat a professional policeman. We must recognise that police service is becoming a demanding profession. We in this country are extremely fortunate in the standards of our police. Therefore, we must ensure that our financial treatment of this service shows clearly the importance that the nation places upon it.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. Ernest G. Perry (Battersea, South)

I have listened intently to the speech by the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Fowler). I do not wish to take up his remarks as many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate.

There has been an improvement in the police service. Traffic wardens help the police with their duties. The Metropolitan Police is only too glad to have these additional forces. They represent a great asset to the police.

As a London Member I should like to pay tribute to the Metropolitan Police. In doing so, I wish to concentrate on the phrase used by the hon. Gentleman, "the permanent policeman." I pay tribute to the chap who remains a permanent police constable in London and serves his 25 years or 30 years on the beat building up a community spirit. In this connection I pay special tribute to one particular police constable who has served for over 25 years in Battersea—Police Constable Payne. He has built up a community service by putting notices in shop windows so that everybody knows the state of the crime rate and what is going on in Battersea. That police constable, with the assistance of his sergeants, superintendents and everybody else, has carried out a first-class job. Therefore, I publicly thank and pay tribute to him.

Police constables who serve for up to 25 years in the force provide a good public service and we should be thankful to them. Those who do not leave after five or 10 years but stay on and live in the community know everybody there and take part in the ordinary affairs of the community. I pay tribute to that kind of policeman.

What worries people in London more than anything else is the large immigrant population, which many other cities do not have, which creates some difficulties with our police. I want to be quite frank. The police try to be tolerant. Ordinary police officers do not speak half a dozen languages. They do not understand every language that is now spoken in this country. When they interview immigrants they cannot always understand what they say and their job is made so much more difficult. I pay tribute to them for the tolerance they display when interviewing such people.

I cross swords with the Home Department—not with the police, because they are not responsible—over the closure of a police station in Cavendish Road on the boundary between Clapham and Battersea. The hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. William Shelton) is also concerned about this matter. The station had been in operation since the turn of the century, and we take exception to its closure within the last few months. Local people feel that they have been betrayed because there are not the policemen there now that there were six months ago. There have been some nasty incidents in South London. When a foreign food shop was attacked with fire bombs, the police were called in and they did all that they could to discover the people responsible, but without success. The Home Secretary should consider the situation very carefully before he closes any more police stations in South London.

The circumstances of a police constable today are very different from what they were three years ago. I was a member of the insurance profession, and I know from personal experience that three years ago constables and sergeants were able to contemplate buying their own houses because their salaries and rent allowances enabled them to do so.

Unfortunately, the situation has changed since then and today their allowances are insufficient to enable them to contemplate buying a house in London. If they want to own their own houses, they have to move a long way out of inner London. A few years ago it was the ambition of many constables to buy their own houses so that when they retired they would have a place of their own in which to live. They cannot do that today, and I therefore ask the Home Secretary and the Home Department to go into this question very carefully.

Police pensions should be reviewed regularly and increased to meet rises in the cost of living. I do not think that a policeman who has served for 25 years and then retired should have to act as a traffic warden—or what is called a "lollipop man"—in order to earn a living wage.

Mr. Roger White (Gravesend)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that police widows' pensions should be subject to the same kind of review?

Mr. Perry

I could not agree more. A woman who has lost her husband in the service of the force should have her pension reviewed regularly to ensure that she does not suffer financial hardship because the cost of living rises.

I am glad we have had this debate today. I conclude by paying tribute to the Metropolitan Police and in particular to those police officers in South London who have an onerous job to do and do it extremely well.

8.58 p.m.

Mr. Michael Shersby (Uxbridge)

I listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Ernest G. Perry). I realise that in considering questions of police manpower the House is inevitably concerned with conditions of pay and employment. These are important aspects of the matter, but in my view they are only part of a much wider problem, namely, the rôle of the policeman in modern society. We as a House have to raise our sights and look to new horizons if we are to begin to understand and to take action to deal with the problems of recruiting a sufficient number of men and women to be the policemen and policewomen of the 1970s and 1980s.

It is, I believe, desirable that the Government should commission a completely fresh and independent study of the rôle of the police and the administration of criminal justice. Apart from direct threats to the stability of the State based upon insurgency, insurrection and subversion, and the increased use of violence and terrorism throughout the world, new methods for the expression of dissent pose new challenges to the maintenance of law and order.

A greater consciousness of individual rights and a reassessment of political and social priorities regularly bring the law, the police and the whole of the law enforcement process openly into question. Police effectiveness may be assessed in a number of ways, but the problem for a democratic society remains the same: the maintenance of the balance between police efficiency and individual liberty.

Police activity is, of course, only one part of the machinery of law enforcement. For example, the police and the criminal courts need to be seen as part of an integrated system and the relationship between the two examined. Another area which vitally affects the extent of police manpower is the rôle of social policy which both controls the design of the system and sets the parameters for its operation. It is only necessary, for example, to refer to gaming and pornography to illustrate the need for a study of the effects of penal legislation on the law enforcement system and in particular on police manpower.

There are other important subjects which also call for new and fresh study, like the maintenance of law and order in industrial disputes, the impact of social change on police training and deployment and the impact of police work on policemen's families. This last, I believe, is an absolutely crucial problem. It is policemen's wives whom we have to think about, as well as policemen and policewomen on the beat. There is also the question of general manpower wastage.

These are but a few of the matters which could be the subject of a careful study and assessment by an independent body. Such a study could be conducted by a university, which can marshal the necessary personnel and facilities to do the job, independent of the Government. I therefore hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will give this proposal careful consideration when he is reviewing the longer-term aspects of police manpower.

I believe that today organised crime presents the gravest threat to civilised society. It is this aspect of police work which above all demands the undivided attention of the regular police force, while the less pressing matters could be dealt with by ancillary forces. A good example of such work is traffic control. We all know how satisfactorily the traffic wardens are operating throughout the country.

But if the regular force is to concern itself with organised crime, who, it may be asked, is to carry out the tasks that are traditionally the rôle of the constable on the beat? There is an answer to this problem in the expansion and reorganisation of the Specials, on the basis that they could provide a valuable assistance and back up for the regular force.

In recent years the rôle of the Specials has been rather muted, although we all know that they do much valuable work. The very name of this section perhaps conjures up less happy associations today than it used to. I therefore suggest that the Specials should be renamed the Voluntary Constabulary, or the VCs for short, although I realise that that could have unfortunate connotations as well. A voluntary force of this kind could be expanded to draw into police work men and women who would willingly give up time for voluntary public service.

Let me make it clear that I see a voluntary constabulary as being an adjunct to the regular force and in no sense a rival force. Nor should voluntary constables be vigilantes in any sense. They should continue, like the Specials of today, to be uniformed members of the force who would take the lead from the trained regular members. In other words, the police should tap that rich vein of voluntary service which exists in our society and use it to make a dramatic reduction in the problem of police manpower. This is particularly true as regards the Metropolitan Police.

I am confident that there are sufficient police training facilities available to train a larger voluntary force and that the police colleges could meet an increased demand. I think it is true to say that the police training available at colleges like Bramshill and Hendon is one of the most saleable properties we have for foreign Powers. They all come here to have their police trained at our colleges. I therefore ask my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State to consider the possibility of using these facilities to expand the rôle of the Specials on the lines I have suggested.

It is said that we get the police we deserve. This is the title of a new book which is to be published next week and the authors of which are policemen. One is Assistant Commissioner John Alderson, who is Commandant of the Police College, Bramshill, and the other is Mr. Philip Stead, who is Dean of Academic Studies at Bramshill. I commend this book to those interested in the future of the police and I give this quotation from the final paragraph of the authors' introduction: Police progress in this country has been marked by the national predilection for consensus. The discussions of innumerable committees at many levels, the compromises which so discourage the idealist and the radical, have no doubt slowed down the pace of change within the service. Whatever its administrative disadvantages, this has had the effect of keeping police reform within the bounds of what the public and the police themselves feel to be acceptable. This book is meant to encourage and extend the debate which in England is the great agent of improvement. I hope that we have this evening commenced that great debate on the improvement and reform of the police and that it will be carried on in the months ahead with profitable results for both the police and the public who are served by this wonderful police force we have in our country.

9.7 p.m.

Mr. Neville Sandelson (Hayes and Harlington)

I shall be fairly brief because the case we have against the Government has been most succinctly put by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams).

I listened to the Home Secretary with the respect which he always commands in this House, though I must say that his speech will provide but cold comfort for the public, some of the more gullible of whom feel badly let down by the performance of his Government since the General Election compared with the law and order propaganda which the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and hon. Friends were emitting only three years ago. I am glad, however, that the Home Secretary paid tribute to the police, as, indeed, hon. Members on both sides of the House have done. I hope that the general public will take note of these tributes from both sides of the House, and I hope that the police themselves will take note of the tributes we have paid them and realise that those tributes are not paid in any merely formal sense but genuinely reflect the admiration which all of us in this House have for the police and for their services to the community.

I listened with interest to the very human touch introduced into the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea. South (Mr. Ernest G. Perry) when he referred to one constable in particular in that area. I am quite sure that one could multiply that instance many times over through the length and breadth of the country.

I am not entitled to speak on behalf of the Bar or any part of it but I know that the vast majority of those practising in our criminal courts will endorse my view that the Metropolitan Police receive too many kicks—many of the unfortunately, are quite literally kicks—and not nearly enough medals. In my professional duties I see some of the less worthy police officers as well as the great majority of first-class policemen. They are the most wrongly abused and maligned body of public servants in this country.

One recognises that the serious under-manning to which the Commissioner refers, which is properly acknowledge by the Home Secretary, existed under the previous Government, and under Governments previous to them. Nevertheless, far from there having been an improvement in the recruitment and manning position, there has been a relatively decline. Largely, all that we have been subjected to this evening is a plethora of statistics coming not entirely from the Home Secretary but from both sides of the House in an effort by both sides to establish that times were somewhat better when they were in power than they are now or were when the other side was in power.

Earlier I used the term "cold comfort". None of this will bring very much comfort to the general public, who are concerned only with the position as they see it today. The present Government were returned to power after all the grandiloquent assurances in June 1970 as to how they would deal with the problem of law and order, amounting almost to an insidious suggestion that somehow their predecessors were responsible for the increase in crime that the country was experiencing and that by way of a magic wand they would be able to change the position radically. The Government have been unable to do that. They are now being hoist with their own petard and are facing the same problems in this matter as previous Governments. They are succeeding rather less than their predecessors in handling these same problems.

If we had had fewer grandiloquent assurances about what the Government would do and a few more of the firm and enlightened measures that were introduced by the Labour Government during the years before 1970, the country would to some extent have felt that the position had improved since the General Election. Unfortunately, that has not been so.

The difficulties of recruitment and of the continuing erosion of strength by early retirements from the Metropolitan Police force are aggravated all the time, as we know, by the evils of inflation, which make remuneration levels, let alone conditions of work, ever more repellent to young men of the kind we want to attract to the force. They are a natural inducement to mature serving officers to leave for other fields where the going is obviously a great deal better.

I have always believed that one of the most urgent priorities for our society was the need to reappraise occupational rewards in terms of value and service to the community. Certain types of work—coal mining is an obvious example—are so arduous and unpleasant that society must be prepared, as it has been to some extent, to pay beyond the norm for work which the overwhelming majority would not themselves be willing to do. For that same reason, certain categories of unskilled workers, such as the people who empty our dustbins, sewage workers, and so on, will have to be paid, and should be paid, at a high rate. Different criteria will apply to other Forms of Public Service.

I cannot understand our meanness to the police. Both sides of the House recognise their indispensability. It is a truism that without the maintenance of law and order all else would go by the board, yet no serious appraisal has yet been made of the pay structure of the police relative to other occupations and relative to the vital rôle they play in the daily life of the whole community.

I wish the Government would now make a decisive break with the past. Despite the claims of other groups, worthy though their claims may be—we shall no doubt hear a great deal about them as the autumn approaches—I wish the Government would set about the urgent task of establishing police remuneration levels on an altogether different plane from those which have existed up to now. There is no other way of resolving the perennial problems of under-manning and early retirement.

Although it is interesting in an academic way to listen to Front Bench speakers comparing the relative performance of their Governments, that does not go near to finding a satisfactory solution. The nation is looking for a solution. I hope that once the Government have revised police remuneration in a necessarily dramatic way—the Government would not expect me to suggest figures for such a restructuring, but it would have to be a dramatic revision—police pay levels will be tied to threshold agreements.

Beneficial consequences would flow from some of these things, not the least of which would be the attraction into the force of men of high calibre and educational attainments. I was particularly struck by the passage in the Commissioner's report dealing with investigations into fraud. This type of crime is very much on the increase. One of the major difficulties about bringing people to book is the enormous delay because of what prove to be complicated and protracted inquiries. I hope that new recruitment will bring in men of the calibre required to assist the present Fraud Squad in dealing with more of these cases, and dealing with them more expeditiously.

On the question of housing or other accommodation for police officers, we must realise sooner rather than later that, in the same way as if we want adequate local bus services we must provide accommodation locally for the bus crews, this is equally true of the police. They cannot any longer afford to buy houses in the areas in which they work. Therefore, we shall have to ensure that a small but adequate amount of accommodation is permanently available through the councils for police officers serving in their areas. That would go a long way to assisting the concept of community living to which hon. Members have referred as a vital part of the rôle that the police can play in the community at large.

The question of the rent allowance and of rent aid for police officers living in their own privately-owned accommodation needs urgent reconsideration in terms of local valuation assessments. I hope that the Home Secretary will consider these matters in a more generous spirit than has been the case in the past.

9.20 p.m.

Mr. Edward Gardner (South Fylde)

I agree with the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) when he says that the public are looking for solutions rather than exciting debates on this subject.

The points I wish to raise relate to the status of the police force and to violent crime. I believe, as no doubt do all hon. Members, that pay is highly important, but just as important is the status of the profession of being a police officer. It has been said many times, and it may sound trite, that people who come to this country recognise, and rightly so, in our police force the best police force in the world. This is their opinion whether they come from the East or the West.

Like other hon. Members I have been to many parts of the world, where I have inspected police forces, but I am unable to point to any police force, including this country, that attracts higher regard from the public than does the force in my part of the country in Lancashire.

I am most disturbed by what I believe to be a large volume of good will, which the police should retain, being dissipated daily through the police coming inevitably in the course of their duty into conflict with the motorist. Unhappily, and I say this with reluctance and regret, there are members of the police force who seem to treat the motorist who has erred but who has not been either dishonest or violent in the same way as they would treat someone whom they believe to have committed a dishonest or violent crime.

I do not know the answer to this problem except that we might begin to reconsider, as we considered in the past, the possibility of a separate part of the force, or even having a separate force, to deal with traffic offences. This would do much to enable the public to distinguish between real crime, which is the basic concern of the police, and the offences which concern only the motorist.

It came to my notice a short while ago, when I heard what I should not have heard, that of the members of a jury which had been called to try a serious crime two were said to have declared to their fellow members of the jury before any evidence was heard that they would not be prepared to convict on police evidence. When they were asked why they had made this extraordinary statement, they both said independently that they had been charged with and convicted of motoring offences of which they believed they should not have been convicted.

Mr. Thomas Cox

Everyone in prison says that.

Mr. Gardner

I hope that that is an extreme and isolated example of the way in which good will can be and is on occasion dissipated. Of course, people who are properly convicted and resent their conviction deserve no sympathy—[Interruption.] I am seeking to put forward a serious point. No doubt everyone who is convicted resents it, but I suggest that when a motorist feels that he has been treated, for example, with discourtesy, and certainly when he feels, as some do, rightly or wrongly, that he has been convicted on evidence which does not entirely align with what he sees as the truth, resentment is caused.

The Government, greatly to their credit, have widely extended the range and choice of punishments which are now available to the courts. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary mentioned in passing last year's Criminal Justice Act, which did just that. The public do not always realise that, no matter what the Government may do by making available a wide range of penalty, it is ultimately the sole decision of the courts to select the penalty.

I hope that both sides of the House can agree that the courts should not neglect the feeling of hon. Members and the country at large that, where possible, they should avoid passing a sentence of imprisonment and instead impose a punishment that will meet the crime without loss of liberty. But most hon. Members, and certainly the majority of people in the country, will want to be comforted and to be certain that the courts will ensure that those who commit crimes of violence are not allowed out until it is safe for them to come out of prison, not because it is necessary so much to punish violence but because it is necessary to protect the public against the violent criminal. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will do what he can with propriety to persuade the courts to accept this philosophy and to see that violent crime is met with appropriate penalty.

9.28 p.m.

Mr. Robert Parry (Liverpool, Exchange)

It is unfortunate that we have been allowed only three hours to debate this important subject. In the few minutes available to me I should like to make a couple of points that I hope the Home Secretary will consider.

First, more encouragement should be given to chief constables of the provincial police authorities further to increase foot patrols. Secondly, more encouragement and assistance should be given to retain the bobby on the beat.

I speak with some experience of the decline of law and order in the large provincial city. Within the past four days a man has been shot in my constituency and a young man brutally stabbed a number of times.

In her opening speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) dealt mainly with the problems of the Metropolitan Police and the increasing crime in London. I should like to deal briefly with the problems of a provincial city, particularly the increased problems faced by the police in the inner areas of our provincial cities. We face increasing crime not only in London but in all our major provincial cities.

A constituency like mine, which covers central Liverpool, has within its boundaries all the problems affecting modern society—drugs, vandalism, violence, drunkenness and mugging, and with the two cases to which I have referred, danger to life and limb.

At a recent meeting held in my constituency, which was attended by over 300 people, including senior police officers, clergy, teachers and welfare workers, a resolution was passed unanimously requesting the chief constable of Liverpool and Bootle Police Force to increase the foot patrols in Liverpool. I am well aware of the problems facing the police in Liverpool and Bootle. I know a number of the senior officers and police constables. We do not want in Liverpool or anywhere else in the country the sort of society which we see existing in New York and Chicago where people are frightened to open their front doors or walk the streets at night.

I go along with the suggestion of differential rates of pay for London police officers, but I should not confine the differential to London. Police officers in all large cities have a tremendous problem, and if the answer is to give them more money, they deserve it.

9.31 p.m.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mr. Parry) and the hon. and learned Member for South Fylde (Mr. Gardner) that the public must be protected against the violent criminal. But the public must also be protected against the violent motorist. The hon. and learned Gentleman made an unwarrantable attack upon the police. If, as happens in many families, a child is injured, maimed or killed, there is exactly the same feeling of revulsion as there is when a criminal has stabbed his victim. The police are doing their job in protecting the public in both instances.

The hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Fowler) and the Secretary of State for the Home Department suggested that the last Labour Government had deliberately cut down recruitment, including civilian recruitment, of the Metropolitan Police in 1968. Let us get the figures clear. The net increase in the Metropolitan Police since 1st July, 1970 has been 151. In 1968 the increase in police recruitment from the 1967 figure was 462. In one year, therefore, the total increase was three times the total increase in recruitment since the present Government came to power. The total increase in the recruitment of civilians in 1969 over recruitment in 1968 was 1,389. The total increase in recruitment since the end of 1970 under the present Government has been 1,052.

Mr. Fowler


Mr. Fraser

This debate is concerned with two issues. The first, is the rising tide of crime, particularly crimes of violence, which is an interference with personal liberty and rights. The second issue is our assertion that the Government have in some respects failed to meet their obligation to society. Our accusation is that in some areas of the country, particularly in the metropolis, police forces have been allowed to become undermanned. They have been reduced in size and intolerably overstrained. The Government may be incapable of controlling the disease of rising crime but they are directly capable of providing a prescription to deal with that disease.

I accept that any politician, of any party, needs a good deal of modesty and humility in any claim which he makes to deal with rising crime. Whichever Government have been in power, crime has regrettably and tragically increased. The present Government might have spared themselves some of the self-congratulation in their amendment. If they want any chastisement, they might like to go back to the fount of Conservative knowledge before the last General Election—namely, Mr. Quinton Hogg as he then was. He could hardly open his mouth without talking about law and order.

I give one quotation from a speech made at the beginning of 1970. He said: … the Prime Minister is presiding complacently over the biggest crime wave of the century and does not seem aware of it … Of course, says the Left Wing. But much of this increase took place under the Tories. Or, even more smugly, they say the rate of increase is going down, as if what mattered was the rate of increase and not the continuance each year of an all-time high on top of an all-time high on top of an all-time high. It is the continued increase not the rate which should command public attention and concern. That was in February 1970. At that time indictable offences known to the police totalled 1,488,638 and there was no complacency about those figures.

By 1971 the present Prime Minister was presiding over the biggest crime total ever, an increase of 10 per cent. over the fire and brimstone period mentioned by the present Lord Chancellor. In 1972—the totals are not directly comparable because of a change in classification—the figures had gone up by 3½ per cent. for the country as a whole and 4.1 per cent. for London. We have had three years of Conservative rule and 1972 has given us an all-time high on top of an all-time high on top of an all-time high.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

The 3.5 per cent. figure is directly comparable. The one given by the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) is not comparable.

Mr. Fraser

It is directly comparable with the preceding year, not the year before that. I hope that we never again get those bombastic splutterings which we had from the present Lord Chancellor.

I do not say that the Government are directly responsible. There are, of course, a number of factors over which they have control and which are conducive to crime and anti-social behaviour. I have in mind such things as unemployment and the degrading conditions under which some children leave school, where goals are held out to them but they do not have the opportunity of achieving them. Such things are relevant to the crime rate.

The preventive services which can be provided by the Government are relevant too. In the metropolis, children's officer after children's officer and police officer after police officer will continue to assert that they are responding to a crisis and that the resources for dealing with juvenile delinquency are totally inadequate.

There are pitiful housing conditions which make it impossible for people to live in dignity and with the kind of values which lead people to become law-abiding citizens. Other such factors involve the supply of probation officers and so on. These are areas in which the Government can indirectly influence the crime figures.

One sector in which they have a direct responsibility, particularly in London, is the strength of police forces. Let us get the facts into perspective. We are delighted to hear that there has been an increase in many police forces in the United Kingdom, but there still remain areas which are undermanned. The West Yorkshire force is 16 per cent. undermanned, the West Midland force 25 per cent., Birmingham 15 per cent., Liverpool 10 per cent. and Manchester 9 per cent., while London, the only force for which the Home Secretary is directly responsible, is 20 per cent. under establishment. It is under establishment by a number equal to the total establishment of the forces of Manchester-Salford and Liverpool Bootle—and at a time when crime is increasing.

Let us put the metropolitan figure into perspective. In 1972 crime in London rose by 4.1 per cent. but the strength of the Metropolitan Police fell by 65 men. From 1st January 1972 to 1st April 1973 the strength fell by 120 men. From 1st April 1972 to 1st April 1973 it fell by 263 men, a serious trend.

Frome 1st June 1972 to 1st June 1973 the strength of the Metropolitan Police fell by 453. That is in a climate of rising crime, against the background of the massive recruiting campaign and against the background of a police force expecting many retirements in the coming years. For instance, there are now almost 1,500 men of the age of 52 who will be retiring in the next three years, 902 of the age of 53 and 499 of the age of 54. It is a far cry from the statement in "A Better Tomorrow" about strengthening the police force in London, and this is a matter for which the Home Secretary is directly responsible.

It is no use talking about the strength of the police forces throughout the rest of the United Kingdom. It is no comfort to be told by the Home Secretary, when a bank is robbed in Brixton, when someone is stabbed in Streatham or when a man is mugged in Marylebone, that the police in Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk are the best deterrent to crime. They are not a deterrent to crime in the Metropolitan Police area.

The Home Secretary has said in answer to questions that there were two difficulties in London. One difficulty, concerning the Police Federation, has been removed. The other arises from the prices and incomes policy which was of the Home Secretary's own making. Now that the Police Federation has withdrawn its objection to separate increases for London, the Home Secretary can have no further alibi.

We must have an urgent review of pay and conditions in the Metropolitan Police. These are pay and conditions which drive experienced officers away from the force and which this year have resulted in an all-time high of 714 experienced officers leaving the force without pension, let alone those who choose to go after their 25 years' service is completed.

The review which I urge should include a number of matters. First, it should look at pay. Secondly, it should look at the damage which rocketing property values cause to the police service in London. This is damaging the police service in the same way as it is damaging the education service, the transport service and other social services. The increase in house prices has been 109 per cent. since the Government came to power and in my constituency the increase has been much higher.

Thirdly, there should be a review of the rent allowance, which is already based on an under-valuation of property and is nonsensical when the maximum London rent allowance is £10 a week for a constable and it is greater in Surrey and Hertfordshire and likely soon to be greater in the Thames Valley. The review should consider the hours of work of the police and the domestic disruption caused by these hours. Uniformed men work up to 50 hours a week or more if there is a demonstration in their area or if they apprehend a criminal the night before they are due to go on leave, which involves them appearing in court with him the next day. The hours worked by CID officers should also be reviewed. In my area such officers work between 60 and 80 hours a week.

Fourthly, the review should also take into account the kind of things which we expect from the police over and above the traditional law and order services which they provide to the community. We expect them to engage in community relations and in preventive work among juveniles. They are expected not only to exercise all the traditional duties but to be patient, understanding and experienced in dealing with social situations as well as criminal situations. Far too often the police have to take the brunt and frustrations of the discontent of society. Because they are the visible embodiment of authority, they take knocks for matters over which they have no control.

Fifthly, the review should look at the shortage of manpower in the metropolitan force which prevents the police from keeping in touch with the ordinary public. I do not blame them for this, as their numbers are stretched, but it is important that the police should be out on the beat so that they get to know members of the public and the communal difficulties of each area, thus securing the confidence and co-operation of the ordinary public as well as meeting those who have committed infractions of the law.

I hope that the review will also consider the possibility of recruiting more coloured policemen in the London force, because it is important that every force should reflect the social composition of the population which it controls. I hope it will not continue, but there is a regrettable and rising trend in crime.

I close with two quotations. The first comes from the irrepressible Quintin Hogg. He said that we need more police and that, if need be, we must pay for them. That is a thought with which I agree, particularly in relation to the metropolitan force. The second quotation punctures some of the complacency about the London situation. In his report for 1972 the Commisioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Robert Mark, stated: The check in manpower growth suffered in 1972 and the serious outlook for the future have, I feel sure, developed from the special and mounting problems we are facing in the metropolis. The situation underlines the urgent need for greater public awareness and more material recognition of the vital service the men and women in the Force give to the community, often in unpleasant, difficult and dangerous circumstances. We in the Opposition give that recognition. We express our support for the police and for their splendid achievements.

We condemn the Government for their failure in the metropolis to face up to the obvious and serious crisis in the maintenance of law and order. I can remember night after night facing the right hon. Gentleman when he assured us, when we were in office, that he would never introduce a prices and incomes policy. Although we want to see more policemen in London, and although we need to pay them more, the Secretary of State and the Government have tied their own hands in dealing with the problem of rising crime and law and order in the metropolis.

9.46 p.m.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

I, too, am grateful for the opportunity we have had of debating the subject of the police. I think that all who have spoken have taken the opportunity to put on record their respect and regard for the police. We should be anxious to express our support for the police.

I welcome particularly the speech of the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Ernest G. Perry), which I thought was typical of the way in which many people feel about the police force in their area. He mentioned particularly what the police are attempting to do about community relations. I accept what the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) said and reaffirm the need for more coloured policemen.

There is no doubt that the police have an important and often difficult task in maintaining law and order at a time when violence is growing in many parts of the world. It is a task which is essential in the interests of all of us in this country. It is a task which is essential to the continuance of a free democracy, and it is aimed at ensuring that people can go about their everyday lives without fear of attack on themselves and their property. The police are in the forefront of the fight against crime, and they deserve the support of the House.

What I regret is the critical nature of the motion—and I point out to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) that it was not our choice—and the fact that the Opposition intend to vote on it. The motion deplores the Government's record in police manpower. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State showed, that is a charge without substance. It is a complete distortion of the Government's record. The motion deserves to be roundly defeated.

The Government's amendment points out that we affirm the need for adequate police manpower. But it makes clear that in all aspects of policies for the support of law and order and of the control of crime the Government's priority is far higher than that of our predecessors—a higher priority for police manpower and the police service, a higher priority for the probation service, and a higher priority of prison accommodation.

I deal with the question of our record concerning the manpower position of the police which is attacked in the motion. Let me repeat a figure which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave the House. It is that today for the first time ever, we have more than 100,000 policemen. Today we have 100,396 policemen. At the end of May 1970, just before the Government took office, there were 92,707. The record which the House is being asked to deplore is the record of an increase of 7,689 in the number of policemen during those three years. When one compares that record with the Labour Party's record and the size of the police force during the three preceding years the motion becomes even more ludicrous.

As the motion is, presumably, wide enough to include Scotland as well as England and Wales, I am entitled to point out that there has been an even greater increase in the size of forces in Scotland. In each of the last two years, 1971 and 1972, there was a higher increase than there was during the whole of the previous five years between 1966 and 1970.

Mr. Albert Roberts (Normanton)

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman dealing with the police force or with traffic wardens?

Mr. Carlisle

I am dealing with the increase in the police force. We have 47 police forces each one of which has increased in size since the Government took office. In all but six of those police forces the rate of increase has been higher in the last three years. In 41 out of 47 there has been a greater increase than there was in the previous three years. Whereas during the last three years every police force has increased, there were in Scotland five forces and in England and Wales seven forces in which there had been a drop in the previous three years.

Added to that must be the additional use of civilians. The figure given by my right hon. Friend in relation to the Metropolitan area was correct. The difference between that figure and the figure mentioned is accounted for by traffic wardens. In that time 797 more civilians have been helping the police. We therefore have more policemen able to concentrate on police work.

It may be said by some that, although recruitment has improved greatly over the last three years, we are not going fast enough and still more should be done, but the Opposition could not possibly hold that position. That argument has been shot from under their feet by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan)—who, not surprisingly, is not a signatory to the motion—when, at the end of 1967, as a result of his tenure of office at the Treasury he had, when he became Home Secretary, to impose a ceiling on police recruitment and on the extent to which police forces could expand.

The hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) said that it was deplorable that 17 out of 47 police forces were still 10 per cent. under strength. I believe that she was at the Home Office at the time when the decision was taken by the then Home Secretary that any force which was not more than 10 per cent. under establishment was not permitted any increase in its size. All that was permitted was an increase of 1 per cent. in the size of a police force provided that it was more than 10 per cent. under establishment. The reason given for that limit on recruitment by the Home Office was that the total strength of the forces had reached a point at which it was not necessary for unrestrained recruitment to continue. That was said by the then Government at a time when there were under 90,000 policemen. Yet they now have the nerve as an Opposition to censure us when we have in this country over 100,000 policemen.

When the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was tackled about the reason for the brake on recruitment when police forces were still 17,000 under strength, his answer was that it was not the size of the police force that was wrong but the size of the establishment. We were then told that the police were up to requirements even though they were below establishment.

One of the effects of the right hon. Gentleman's policies was deliberately to stop the expenditure on central advertising for recruitment to the police forces, which I am glad to say is now running at over £600,000 a year.

Mr. John Fraser

What about the situation in London?

Mr. Carlisle

I am coming on to London.

Mr. Fraser

The Minister is dodging the question.

Mr. Carlisle

I am not dodging anything. All forces, including those in London, are greater now than when we took office.

We have heard much about police pay. I remind the Labour Party that, compared to the time when we took office, the basic pay of a police officer has increased by 47 per cent. That surely is a recognition of an improvement in the situation of the police force.

In regard to the Metropolitan area, although I accept, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary accepted, that there are serious problems, and although we are concerned with the present situation in the Metropolitan Police force, I only need to remind the House of the steps which my right hon. Friend has already said are being taken.

Having dealt with the paucity of the Opposition's argument—[HON. MEMBERS: "What about London?"] I shall come back to London in a moment. In the last few moments of my speech I turn to the second half of our amendment, which welcomes the success of our policies not only in bringing about a substantial increase in the size of the police force but in combating crime.

The hon. Member for Norwood went on and on about the substantial and steady increase in crime. I do not know

whether he heard that part of my right hon. Friend's speech which emphasised that for the first time there are encouraging signs that the tide has turned. Not only has the rate in the growth of crime been going down over the last two years—and particularly during the last six months of last year—but now, for the first time in many years, the figures which my right hon. Friend hopes shortly to announce in relation to crimes in the first three months of this year will show a reduction in overall volume. My right hon. Friend said that last year 22 police forces had shown an actual reduction in crime against the situation in 1971, whereas in the first three months of this year 32 police forces out of 47 showed an actual reduction in crime. Reports which we have had from chief constables show that 36 out of 47 police forces have achieved an actual reduction in crime.

However serious the manpower position in the Metropolitan area, it must be said that among the areas which have reported to the Home Office reductions in crime is the Metropolitan area, whose figures are 4 per cent. down on the equivalent period last year. The same goes for Manchester and Salford, Liverpool, West Yorkshire, Birmingham, Lancashire, West Midlands and all the other forces which have been mentioned in this debate.

The Opposition have chosen to table what can only be described as a censorious motion. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about London?"] It is a hypocritical motion. It is tabled by a party whose record when in Government was hardly one of which they can be proud. It is a party which deliberately limited police expansion because it said there was no need to increase it further. Today we have 11,000 additional policemen and every police force is larger than it was when Labour were in power. That is the sort of record which the Opposition are asking the House to deplore, and I ask the House overwhelmingly to reject the motion.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 265.

Division No. 200.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Adley, Robert Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Atkins, Humphrey
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Awdry, Daniel
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Astor, John Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Goodhart, Philip Moate, Roger
Batsford, Brian Gorst, John Money, Ernie
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Gower, Raymond Monks, Mrs. Connie
Bell, Ronald Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Monro, Hector
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Gray, Hamish Montgomery, Fergus
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Green, Alan More, Jasper
Benyon, W. Grieve, Percy Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Biffen, John Grylls, Michael Morrison, Charles
Biggs-Davison, John Gurden, Harold Murton, Oscar
Blaker, Peter Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hall, John (Wycombe) Neave, Airey
Body, Richard Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Bossom, Sir Clive Hannam, John (Exeter) Normanton, Tom
Bowden, Andrew Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Nott, John
Braine, Sir Bernard Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Onslow, Cranley
Bray, Ronald Haselhurst, Alan Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Brewis, John Hastings, Stephen Osborn, John
Brinton, Sir Tatton Havers, Michael Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hawkins, Paul Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hay, John Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hayhoe, Barney Parkinson, Cecil
Bryan, Sir Paul Hicks, Robert Peel, John
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Higgins, Terence L. Percival, Ian
Buck, Antony Hiley, Joseph Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Bullus, Sir Eric Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Burden, F. A. Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Pink, R. Bonner
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holland, Philip Pounder, Rafton
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Holt, Miss Mary Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Carlisle, Mark Hordern, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hornby, Richard Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Channon, Paul Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Proudfoot, Wilfred
Chapman, Sydney Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Howell, David (Guildford) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Raison, Timothy
Churchill, W. S. Hunt, John Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Iremonger, T. L. Redmond, Robert
Clegg, Walter Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Cockeram, Eric James, David Rees, Peter (Dover)
Cooke, Robert Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Coombs, Derek Jessel, Toby Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Cooper, A. E. Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Cordle, John Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Ridsdale, Julian
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Jopling, Michael Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Cormack, Patrick Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Costain, A. P. Kaberrv, Sir Donald Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Critchley, Julian Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Crouch, David Kershaw, Anthony Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Crowder, F. P. Kimball, Marcus Rost, Peter
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Russell, Sir Ronald
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry King, Tom (Bridgwater) St. John-Stevas, Norman
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Kinsey, J. R. Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Dean, Paul Kirk, Peter Scott, Nicholas
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kitson, Timothy Scott-Hopkins, James
Digby, Simon Wingfield Knight, Mrs. Jill Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dixon, Piers Knox, David Shelton, William (Clapham)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Lamont, Norman Shersby, Michael
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Lane, David Simeons, Charles
Dykes, Hugh Langford-Holt Sir John Sinclair, Sir George
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Le Marchant, Spencer Skeet, T. H. H.
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lloyd,Rt. Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'field) Soref, Harold
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Speed, Keith
Emery, Peter Longden, Sir Gilbert Spence, John
Fell, Anthony Luce, [...]. N. Sproat, Iain
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy McAdden, Sir Stephen Stainton, Keith
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) MacArthur, Ian Stanbrook, Ivor
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) McCrindle, R. A. Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Fookes, Miss Janet McNair-Wilson, Michael Stokes, John
Foster, Sir John McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Fowler, Norman Maddan, Martin Sutcliffe, John
Fox, Marcus Madel, David Tapsell, Peter
Fraser, John (Norwood) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fry, Peter Marten, Neil Taylor,Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. Mather, Carol Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Gardner, Edward Maude, Angus Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Gibson-Watt, David Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Temple, John M.
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Mawby, Ray Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Glyn, Dr. Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Miscampbell, Norman
Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W)
Tilney, John Wall, Patrick Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Trafford, Dr. Anthony Walters, Dennis Woodnutt, Mark
Trew, Peter Ward, Dame Irene Worsley, Marcus
Tugendhat, Christopher Warren, Kenneth Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin White, Roger (Gravesend) Younger, Hn. George
van Straubenzee, W. R. Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Wiggin, Jerry TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Waddington, David Wilkinson, John Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Walder, David (Clitheroe) Winterton, Nicholas Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Abse, Leo Ellis, Tom Lipton, Marcus
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) English, Michael Lomas, Kenneth
Allen, Scholefield Evans, Fred Loughlin, Charles
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Ewing, Harry Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Armstrong, Ernest Faulds, Andrew Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Ashley, Jack Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Ashton, Joe Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) McBride, Neil
Atkinson, Norman Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McCartney, Hugh
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McElhone, Frank
Barnes, Michael Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McGuire, Michael
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Foot, Michael Mackenzie, Gregor
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Forrester, John Mackie, John
Baxter, William Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Maclennan, Robert
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Freeson, Reginald McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Galpern, Sir Myer McNamara, J. Kevin
Bidwell, Sydney Gilbert, Dr. John Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Bishop, E. S. Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Marks, Kenneth
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Gourley, Harry Marquand, David
Booth, Albert Grant, George (Morpeth) Marsden, F.
Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Mayhew, Christopher
Bradley, Tom Hatton, F. Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Broughton, Sir Alfred Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mendelson, John
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Millan, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Hamling, William Miller, Dr. M. S.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Milne, Edward
Buchan, Norman Hardy, Peter Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Molloy, William
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morgan, Elysian (Cardiganshire)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hattersley, Roy Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cant, R. B. Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Carmichael, Neil Hefter, Eric S. Moyle, Roland
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hooson, Emlyn Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Horam, John Murray, Ronald King
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Houghton. Rt. Hn. Douglas Oakes, Gordon
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Ogden, Eric
Cohen, Stanley Huckfield, Leslie O'Halloran, Michael
Concannon, J. D. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) O'Malley, Brian
Conlan, Bernard Hughes, Mark (Durham) Oram, Bert
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, Maurice
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orme, Stanley
Crawshaw, Richard Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Oswald, Thomas
Cronin, John Janner, Greville Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jay Rt. Hn. Douglas Padley, Walter
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jeger, Mrs. Lena Paget, R. T.
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Palmer, Arthur
Davidson, Arthur John, Brynmor Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Pavitt, Laurie
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pendry, Tom
Deakins, Eric Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Perry, Ernest G.
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Delargy, Hugh Kaufman, Gerald Prescott, John
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Kelley, Richard Price, William (Rugby)
Dempsey, James Kerr, Russell Probert, Arthur
Doig, Peter Kinnock, Nell Radice, Giles
Dormand, J. D. Lambie, David Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lamborn, Harry Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lamond, James Rhodes, Geoffrey
Driberg, Tom Latham, Arthur Richard, Ivor
Duffy, A. E. P. Lawson, George Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunn, James A. Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dunnett, Jack Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Robertson, John (Paisley)
Eadie, Alex Leonard, Dick Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Edelman, Maurice Lestor, Miss Joan Roper, John
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rose Paul B.
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rowlands, Ted
Sandelson, Neville Stott, Roger (Westhoughton) Weitzman, David
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Strang, Gavin Wellbeloved, James
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.) Swain, Thomas Whitehead, Phillip
Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Taverne, Dick Whitlock, William
Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Sitters, James Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Silverman, Julius Tinn, James Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Skinner, Dennis Tomney, Frank Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Small, William Tope, Graham Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Smith, John (Lanarkshire N.) Torney, Tom Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Spearing, Nigel Tuck, Raphael Wilson, William (Coventry. S.)
Spriggs, Leslie Urwin, T. W. Woof, Robert
Stallard, A. W. Varley, Eric G.
Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Wainwright, Edwin TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Mr. Donald Coleman and
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wallace, George Mr. John Golding.
Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Watkins, David

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put: —

The House divided: Ayes 289, Noes 263.

Division No. 201.] AYES [10.12 p.m.
Adley, Robert Crouch, David Hayhoe, Barney
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Crowder, F. P. Hicks, Robert
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Higgins, Terence L.
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hiley, Joseph
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Astor, John Dean, Paul Hill, S. James A.(Southampton, Test)
Atkins, Humphrey Digby, Simon Wingfield Holland, Philip
Awdry, Daniel Dixon, Piers Holt, Miss Mary
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Hordern, Peter
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hornby, Richard
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Dykes, Hugh Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia
Batsford, Brian Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Howe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Howell, David (Guildford)
Bell, Ronald Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hunt, John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Emery, Peter Hutchison, Michael Clark
Benyon, W. Fell, Anthony Iremonger, T. L.
Berry, Hn. Anthony Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Biggs-Davison, John Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hempstead) James, David
Blaker, Peter Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Jessel, Toby
Body, Richard Fookes, Miss Janet Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Fortescue, Tim Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Bossom, Sir Clive Foster, Sir John Jopling, Michael
Bowden, Andrew Fowler, Norman Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Braine, Sir Bernard Fox, Marcus Kaberry, Sir Donald
Bray, Ronald Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Brewis, John Fry, Peter Kershaw, Anthony
Brinton, Sir Tatton Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. Kimball, Marcus
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gardner, Edward King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gibson-Watt, David King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Kinsey, J. R.
Bryan, Sir Paul Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Kirk, Peter
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Glyn, Dr. Alan Kitson, Timothy
Buck, Antony Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Knight, Mrs. Jill
Bullus, Sir Eric Goodhart, Philip Knox, David
Burden, F. A. Gorst, John Lamont, Norman
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gower, Raymond Lane, David
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Carlisle, Mark Gray, Hamish Le Merchant, Spencer
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Green, Alan Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Channon, Paul Grieve, Percy Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'field)
Chapman, Sydney Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th Langstone)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Grylls, Michael Longden, Sir Gilbert
Chichester-Clark, R. Gurden, Harold Luce, R. N.
Churchill, W. S. Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) McAdden, Sir Stephen
Clark, William (Surrey. E.) Hall, John (Wycombe) MacArthur, Ian
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. McCrindle, R. A.
Cockeram, Eric Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Cooke, Robert Hannam, John (Exeter) McNair-Wilson, Michael
Coombs, Derek Harrison, Brian (Maldon) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Cooper, A. E. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maddan, Martin
Cordle, John Haselhurst, Alan Madel, David
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Hastings, Stephen Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Cormack, Patrick Havers, Sir Michael Marten, Neil
Costain. A. P. Hawkins, Paul Mather, Carol
Critchley, Julian Hay, John Maude, Angus
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Mawby, Ray Quennell, Miss J. M. Sutcliffe, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Raison, Timothy Tapsell, Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Miscampbell, Norman Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W) Redmond, Robert Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)
Moate, Roger Rees, Peter (Dover) Temple, John M.
Money, Ernie Rees-Davies, W. R. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Monks, Mrs. Connie Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Monro, Hector Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Montgomery, Fergus Ridsdale, Julian Tilney, John
More, Jasper Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Trew, Peter
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Tugendhat, Christopher
Morrison, Charles Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Murton, Oscar Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Rost, Peter Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Neave, Airey Royle, Anthony Waddington, David
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Russell, Sir Ronald Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Noble, Rt. Hn Michael St. John-Stevas, Norman Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Normanton, Tom Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Nott, John Scott, Nicholas Wall, Patrick
Onslow, Cranley Scott-Hopkins, James Walters, Dennis
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Ward, Dame Irene
Osborn, John Shelton, William (Clapham) Warren, Kenneth
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Shersby, Michael White, Roger (Gravesend)
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Simeons, Charles Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Sinclair, Sir George Wiggin, Jerry
Parkinson, Cecil Skeet, T. H. H. Wilkinson, John
Peel, Sir John Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Winterton, Nicholas
Percival, Ian Soref, Harold Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Speed, Keith Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Pike, Miss Mervyn Spence, John Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Pink, R. Bonner Sproat, Iain Woodnutt, Mark
Pounder, Rafton Stainton, Keith Worsley, Marcus
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Stanbrook, Ivor Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Younger, Hn. George
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Proudfoot, Wilfred Stokes, John Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Mr. Walter Clegg.
Abse, Leo Corbet, Mrs. Freda Freeson, Reginald
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Galpern, Sir Myer
Allen, Scholefield Crawshaw, Richard Gilbert, Dr. John
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Cronin, John Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)
Armstrong, Ernest Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Ashley, Jack Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Gourlay, Harry
Ashton, Joe Davidson, Arthur Grant, George (Morpeth)
Atkinson, Norman Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Barnes, Michael Davies, Ifor (Gower) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Baxter, William Deakins, Eric Hamling, William
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Delargy, Hugh Hardy, Peter
Bidwell, Sydney Dell, Rt. He. Edmund Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Bishop, E. S. Dempsey, James Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Blenkinsop, Arthur Doig, Peter Hattersley, Roy
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dormand, J. D. Hatton, F.
Booth, Albert Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hefter, Eric S.
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Driberg, Tom Hooson, Emlyn
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Duffy, A. E. P. Horam, John
Bradley, Tom Dunn, James A. Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Broughton, Sir Alfred Dunnett, Jack Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Eadie, Alex Huckfield, Leslie
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Edelman, Maurice Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Edwards, William (Merloneth) Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Buchan, Norman Ellis, Tom Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) English, Michael Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Evans, Fred Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Ewing, Harry Janner, Greville
Cant, R. B. Faulds, Andrew Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Carmichael, Neil Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) John, Brynmor
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Cohen, Stanley Foot, Michael Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Concannon, J. D. Forrester, John Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Conlan, Bernard Fraser, John (Norwood) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Silverman, Julius
Kaufman, Gerald Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Skinner, Dennis
Kelley, Richard Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Small, William
Kerr, Russell Moyle, Roland Smith, John (Lanarkshire. N.)
Kinnock, Neil Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Spearing, Nigel
Lambie, David Murray, Ronald King Spriggs, Leslie
Lamborn, Harry Oakes, Gordon Stallard, A. W.
Lamond, James Ogden, Eric Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Latham, Arthur O'Halloran, Michael Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Lawson, George O'Malley, Brian Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Leadbitter, Ted Oram, Bert Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Orbach, Maurice Stott, Roger (Westhoughton)
Leonard, Dick Orme, Stanley Strang, Gavin
Lestor, Miss Joan Oswald, Thomas Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Padley, Walter Swain, Thomas
Lipton, Marcus Paget, R. T. Taverns, Dick
Lomas, Kenneth Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Loughlin, Charles Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Parker, John (Dagenham) Tomney, Frank
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Tope, Graham
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pavitt, Laurie Torney, Tom
McBride, Neil Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Tuck, Raphael
McCartney, Hugh Pendry, Tom Urwin, T. W.
McElhone, Frank Perry, Ernest G. Varley, Eric G.
McGuire, Michael Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Wainwright, Edwin
Machin, George Prescott, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mackenzie, Gregor Price, William (Rugby) Wallace, George
Mackie, John Probert, Arthur Watkins, David
Mackintosh, John P. Radice, Giles Weitzman, David
Maclennan, Robert Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wellbeloved, James
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McNamara, J. Kevin Rhodes, Geoffrey White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Richard, Ivor Whitehead, Phillip
Melialieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitlock, William
Marks, Kenneth Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marquand, David Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Marsden, F. Roper, John Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Marshall, Dr Edmund Rose Paul B. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Rowlands, Ted Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mayhew, Christopher Sandelson, Neville Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Mendelson, John Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Woof, Robert
Millan, Bruce Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Miller, Dr. M. S. Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Milne, Edward Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Mr. John Golding and
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Mr. Donald Coleman.
Molloy, William Sillars, James

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 56 (Third Reading), and agreed to.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House notes with concern the continuing rise in crime; affirms that the police should have adequate manpower to perform their duties; endorses Her Majesty's Government's decision to give a higher priority over the last three years to policies for the support of law and order; and in particular welcomes the success of these policies in bringing about a substantial increase in the strength of the police service and further welcomes the present indications of their success in combating crime.