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Civil Police Force

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the total strength of the civil police force in the British zone of Germany at the time of the capitulation; how many of those then serving have since been dismissed or suspended; what is the present total strength; and on what basis new recruits are selected.

The first reliable figures obtainable are for the middle of July, 1945, when there were 29,758 regular police and 4,321 auxiliary police, in the British zone of Germany. Of these, 12,553 regulars and 2,534 auxiliaries have been dismissed. The present strength of the civil police is 38,456 regular police and 2,294 auxiliaries. New recruits are selected on the basis of educational and physical qualifications, and applicants are screened by special German de-Nazification panels. No former regular officers or regular non-commissioned officers of the German Armed Forces are accepted.

Can the Secretary of State tell us whether any track is kept of these 12,000 or 15,000 dismissed policemen; whether anything is known about what has become of them; and could he explain why service as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer should disqualify a man for police service?

In regard to the latter part of the supplementary question, I understand most of the people who were either regular officers or regular non-commissioned officers in the German Armed Forces were, in the main, Nazis, and were not trusted in the police. I should like to have notice of the first part of the supplementary question and I will get the facts.

Will the right hon. Gentleman look again into this senseless discrimination against the re-employment of ex-regular officers and non-commissioned officers? Some of them, for instance, might have been Socialists, and surely it is unfair that they should be subject to discrimination?

I am looking into it, but in one breath the House wants me to de-Nazify and in the next breath the House wants me to employ them. It is a very difficult problem to handle when a country has been dealt with in the way Germany has been since 1933.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this de-Nazification and discrimination, as it is called, is not senseless; and will he also bear in mind how important it is to build up in the new German police force an entirely different spirit towards the general public from that which obtained in the police force before 1945?

The police in Germany are working on the basis of trying to make a non-political force in our zone for the future good of Germany. If we cannot do that we shall be in danger of creating a police force which can be a ready-made instrument for a "police state" should one arise.