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Volume 389: debated on Thursday 13 May 1943

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Widows' Pensions


asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that widows of ex-police officers, some of whom served in the House of Commons, are receiving only us. 6d, per week; and whether he will review these pensions and increase them?

The figure to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, amounting to Lao a year, is that of the ordinary rate of pension granted under the Police Pensions Act to the widows of +he lower ranks of the police service, and I regret that I can hold out no hope of legislation increasing the general rate of pensions already existing.

Suspected Officers


asked the Home Secretary what arrangements exist at Scotland Yard for keeping a watch or check upon police officers who are suspected of offences or against whom any adverse reports or allegations are made?

If occasion arises for investigating some offence of which a member of the police force is suspected, the procedure for assigning the investigation to appropriate officers is similar to that followed in regard to any other investigations. There is no group of detective officers whose sole or main duty is to investigate cases where members of the police force are suspected; and a statement recently published by a newspaper that there is a special department at Scotland Yard which was created to keep a watch on police officers is mistaken.

Is is not a fact that, with a very few exceptions, the conduct of the police during the war has been exemplary, and are not such suggestions as are contained in the Question to be deplored?

It is the case, as my hon. Friend says, that the general conduct of the police during the war has been admirable, and they have performed services of great value to the nation.

Is it possible for my right hon. Friend to take any action against papers that spread such wrong reports about the police?

I am afraid not. When I take action against newspapers I find that I am in deep water, and I had better not take that line.

Clothing Coupons


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the number of clothing coupons allowed to be retained by policemen, for the purchase of civilian clothing, underclothing, socks and household linen, is now approximately 33 for a period of 12 months; and if he will consider reducing the number of coupons which the police are required to surrender.

No, Sir. The number of coupons which policemen refund annually for uniform is no more than is spent by the average sedentary worker on comparable working garments. The number of coupons remaining for other purposes is therefore the same for both.

Is the hon. Gentleman really suggesting that policemen, especially in rural areas, who have to cycle on an average 3o to 40 miles a day in the course of their duties, are sedentary workers?

Certainly not, but in so far as they are not sedentary they are the more fortunate under this arrangement.