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Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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Thomas Kavanagh (Report From United States)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional information he has obtained as the result of inquiries by the American police into the case of Thomas Kavanagh; and, in the light of such information, what further action he is taking in this case.

I understand that the police have now received a report from the United States and that the facts have been laid before the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In those circumstances, is the Home Secretary aware that, if necessary, I shall put another Question down when the result of this consideration is made known?

Housing Accommodation, London


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to provide improved housing accommodation for members of the Metropolitan Police Force.

As I mentioned in the Second Reading debate on the Metropolitan Police (Borrowing Powers) Bill, good progress is being made with the programme of providing accommodation for 4,000 married men. Progress is also being made with providing 4,000 up-to-date single men's quarters but accommodation for married men must take priority, and more than half of this programme remains to be completed.

May we gather from that reply that the Home Secretary is satisfied that this former hindrance to adequate recruitment in the Metropolitan Police is being dealt with?

It is being dealt with, but—I think, like every Home Secretary—I should like it to be dealt with more quickly. Whenever that is possible, I shall do so.

Coronation Stone (Protection)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what duties the police officers, now employed on precautionary measures to prevent the removal of the Coronation Stone, were employed before being ordered to take up these duties; and what was their weekly salary.

Police officers employed on duties of this character would normally be drawn from those employed on ordinary beat, patrol and protection duties. As they would change from day to day it would not be practicable to state in detail what their salaries were and in any event it would be undesirable to publish such details as would indicate the scale of precautionary measures which the Commissioner of Police may from time to time see fit to direct.

Is not the Home Secretary aware that there is considerable perturbation in Scotland about the very big expense this may incur, and does he not agree that that expense would be unnecessary if the stone were removed to Scotland for safe keeping? Is he also aware that there is an elaborate electrical system installed in Westminster Abbey which makes people who closely inspect the stone get in touch with Scotland Yard, and that constituents of mine will not now go to Westminster Abbey for the quiet meditation for which it is noted?

I am sorry about the perturbation that arises in the breasts of the hon. Gentleman and his constituents, but I think that if these are the least of their worries, they are greatly to be congratulated.

Would my right hon. and learned Friend also bear in mind that there is considerable perturbation in the minds of those who move among the underworld of London concerning the precautions taken to protect the Crown Jewels also?

December, 1951, to February, 1952As at 29th February, 1952
RecruitmentWastageIncrease (+) or decrease (-)Authorised EstablishmentsActual strengthsDeficiencies
Counties, Cities and Boroughs1,215564+65151,89346,4795,414
Metropolitan Police Force295189+10619,68515,6424,043


Sunderland Borough Police Force44Nil24322617

* Includes 304 seconded or serving overseas.



asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a further statement on the progress that has been made in the recruitment of men to the police force; and whether he will give, separately, the figures for the county borough of Sunderland.

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT figures as at 29th February, 1952, which, when compared with the figures as at 30th November, 1951, which I gave in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) on 6th December, 1951, show the progress which has been made during the last three months. During this period the total deficiencies have fallen from 10,216 to 9,457. In Sunderland, no progress has been made during this period but the deficiency is only 17 in an authorised establishment of 243, as compared with 30 on 1st August last.

While I am sure the House very much appreciates the progress which has been made, will the right hon and learned Gentleman consider accelerating that progress by giving further consideration, to the question of the physical standards at present required for members of the police force?

If the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to give me his ideas, I shall be glad to consider them.

Following are the figures:


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the practice with regard to the exercise of a colour bar in recruitment for the Metropolitan Police Force.

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, who is responsible for appointments to the Metropolitan Police Force, that, subject to the basic qualifications as to age, height, health and education which are laid down in the police regulations, all applications for appointment by British subjects are considered on their merits.

Crowd Control (Sports Events)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reply he is sending to the communication he has received from the Police Federation, expressing concern at the increasing difficulty of controlling large crowds at football matches and other sports events.

This communication, which was received on 18th March, is being carefully considered. A reply will be sent in due course.

What steps is the Home Secretary taking to prevent a recurrence of the disturbances which occurred outside the Arsenal Stadium last Saturday and Sunday, when there was not only considerable damage to property but also intolerable interference with the peace of the neighbourhood?

The hon. Member has Questions down on that disturbance, and I think it would be better if I dealt on them with the subject of the disturbance rather than at the present moment.