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Police Candidates (Written Examinations)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the high percentage of candidates for the police who fail to pass the written examination; whether he is satisfied that the questions asked are not unduly academic; and whether he will place copies of some of these examination papers in the Library.

I am aware that a considerable number of candidates for appointment to Scottish police forces are rejected on educational grounds. The educational standard required in a police recruit and the nature of the entrance examination that he must pass, which may be written or oral, are primarily matters for the chief constable concerned. I have no reason to think that an unduly high standard is required. I am arranging for copies of papers recently set for candidates for the Glasgow City Police Force to be placed in the Library.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that a man may be a very good policeman with out being a particularly good scholar, that it is difficult to recruit sufficient policemen, and that it is unwise for any police authority to set too high an academic standard?

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that, as a matter of fact, the standard we require is that of the average pupil of 15 years of age.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his remarks about Scottish policemen are a reflection upon himself as the head of the Scottish Education Department, and would he not arrange for the police with lower intelligence qualifications to have tuition when they become members of the force in order that they should attain a higher standard, as everyone will agree that policemen ought to have a good standard of education?

While we shall do all we can to maintain as good a standard as possible, I should like to assure the right hon. Gentleman that at the same time we also want policemen.