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Police Constables

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of police constables have more than 10 years' service; and how this proportion compares with the position in 1961.

This information is not held centrally and is not readily obtainable. The results of a survey of forces in England and Wales at the end of 1979 showed that over a third of police constables, and just over half of officers of all ranks, had more than 10 years' service.

So that young police constables can benefit more from the practical experience of the older ones, will my right hon. Friend consider whether a larger proportion of the older ones can be made available for work with the younger ones on the streets? Will he also see whether the salary structure can be examined in order to encourage the retention of the services of experienced police constables?

The answer to my hon. Friend's first question is that that is exactly the purpose of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, and, indeed, of training schemes that he has just instituted at Hendon, the benefit of which will be seen on the streets thereafter. We are suffering from the fact that at an earlier time police pay was allowed to go too low, as a result of which many experienced officers left the force. That has been put right through the Edmund-Davies report, which the Government supported. We must ensure that no similar loss of experienced police officers happens again.

With regard to the efforts being made by chief constables and by the Commissioner in London to recruit black and brown people into the police force, does the Home Secretary agree that if there is some shyness on the part of such young people to join and serve in their own localities, there should be a system to move them to other localities in order to follow this laudable objeective?