asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Metropolitan Police to reach its full establishment and when that establishment was agreed and last reviewed.
The force strength has increased by over 900 since the publication of the Edmund-Davies report in July 1978, but is still some 4,000 below establishment. It is not possible to say when the Metropolitan Police will reach full establishment, but it is likely to be some years before it is achieved. The last major review of establishment was in 1965.
Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that he has given an encouraging reply? The increase in police strength is no doubt partly due to the wise decision of the Government to allocate a 2½ per cent. increase to the forces of law and order. Is my hon. and learned Friend satisfied that the Metropolitan Police is adequately deploying those it has on its strength?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his first remarks. On police deployment, there has been a review of local policing arrangements by the Commissioner. As a result, I am pleased to be able to tell the House that as many as 1,200 officers should be redeployed from administrative duties. That is a very satisfactory outcome.
Will the Minister make sure that when the Commissioner intends to close local police stations—as he does so intend—there is the fullest consultation with borough councils in the London area? There is great concern among people about the closing down of what they regard as their local police station.
I know that there is concern when this happens. It is a matter for the Commissioner. I know that he is anxious that there should be full consultation and discussion before proceeding with any such proposals.