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Police Force

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 23 June 1949

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Oaksey Report (Findings)

30 and 31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what representations he has received from the Superintendent's Central Committee and the Police Federation on the findings of the Oaksey Report; and what action he proposes to take on them;

(2) if he is aware that dissatisfaction exists among police officers with certain aspects of the Oaksey Report; and if he will give further consideration to the matter so as to meet the objections that have been raised.

At the recent meeting of the Police Council the representatives of the superintendents and Police Federation raised a number of matters on the Report; but they accepted the position that it would not be practicable to pick and choose among the recommendations made by the Committee and that effect should be given to the Report as a whole. Provision has however been made in the draft Police Pensions Regulations now before the House to meet the special position of members of the forces who were serving on 28th August, 1921, and who are compelled to retire by the operation of the age limit. My right hon. Friend is also taking steps after consultation with the Superintendents' Central Committee and the local authority Associations to overcome hardships which may arise in individual cases consequent on the introduction of the new grading system for superintendents.

Can we have an assurance that no police officer of any grade will be worse off in any way under the terms of this award, and is the Under-Secretary satisfied that the decisions arrived at will have the desired effect of encouraging recruitment and will satisfy existing members of the forces, because there is a good deal of evidence that there is still dissatisfaction at present?

Dealing with the last part of the supplementary question first, I think it is clear that a number of people in the Police Force would have liked higher awards than are suggested under the Oaksey Report, but that was to be expected. Their representative bodies have, however, accepted the position as indicated in my answer.

Can the Under-Secretary tell us the effect of the report upon resignations from the Police Force and recruitment to the force since the new Oaksey concessions were announced?

I certainly could not do that without notice, but I think it is a little early to be giving figures.

Is my hon. Friend aware that one of the anomalies arising was the question of pensions of those about to retire, and that what he has said on behalf of his right hon. Friend will cause a great deal of satisfaction among those concerned?

I apologise to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) for not having answered the first part of his supplementary question. I think it is substantially the case that under this report no police officer will be worse off, but we have to take one recommendation with another and look at the matter as a whole.

Can my hon. Friend say if the terms of his answer cover the objections which have come from various grades in the Scottish Police Service?

I cannot undertake to deal with every objection that has been raised from every quarter.

Will my hon. Friend pass on to his right hon. Friend the fact that in Birmingham there is great dissatisfaction, and that among the many complaints is the fact that there is no question of back-dating the award as has been done with the awards in other walks of life?

Assault Case, Dalston (Inquiries)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any report to make of progress by the police in tracing the assailants of the two Dalston boys on 30th April; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend is informed that every possible inquiry is being made by the police, but so far it has not been possible to identify the assailants.

In view of the anxiety in the neighbourhood about this matter, is the Under-Secretary in a position to give some details to the House about the steps the police have taken, without of course divulging anything which may be of value to the suspects, and can he say whether a certain public house, of which I think he has been informed, is under scrutiny by the police?

I think it would be very undesirable for me to go into details of what the police are or are not doing in a matter of this kind. I can only repeat that my right hon. Friend is satisfied that every possible step is being taken by the police.

Can my hon. Friend say whether the car used by the assailants, the number of which was supplied to the police, has been traced, and if not why not?

I do not think it is advisable I should go into details of what the police have or have not so far managed to elucidate.

Pensions Regulations

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that serving policemen are to be required to express an option as to whether they accept or refuse averaging of pay for the purposes of pension, he will give an assurance that those members of the service who joined before 5th July, 1948, who opt to accept averaging will retain their safeguard under Section 2 of the Police Pensions Act, 1948.

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend is advised that officers who are members of police forces on 1st July, 1949, and who elect, under Regulation 87 of the draft Police Pensions Regulations now before Parliament, to have their pensions based on the average of their pay for the three years preceding retirement retain the safeguard contained in Section 2 of the Police Pensions Act, 1948, in relation to any future amendments of the Police Pensions Regulations.

Does that mean that the officers opting for averaging, who were in the force prior to 5th July, 1948, and have been promoted late in their careers, will receive pensions appropriate to their rank?

This provision for opting has been introduced to ensure that on this occasion when the pensions regulations are altered, there should be no possible question of infringement of the safeguard introduced last year.

In view of the great interest taken in this question, quite apart from any political point of view, will the Under-Secretary look into the terms of the order which his right hon. Friend is moving on Tuesday next, to see whether words cannot be added, to bring into Order discussion of the sort of points which have been raised on this question, and which show that the House has considerable doubt as to what is to be effected?

I appreciate the point, but what would or would not be in Order in that Debate is a mater on which I cannot answer.