Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witnesses (Questions 500 - 508)



  500.  If you could do that then all the cameras would be live?
  (Mr Manning)  Yes.
  (Mr Brunstrom)  We are categorically not asking for additional money for the police service. Everything else is in place. We have superb technology, with one exception about chasing errant drivers, we have very very good law. The whole process works perfectly provided the offenders pay for it and that is what is missing at the moment.


  501.  I want to ask you a question which does worry me after listening to you and that is the sort of safeguards that you would require as the police force before you extended the powers available, particularly to stop vehicles, to people like traffic wardens.
  (Mr Manning)  We are not talking about parking attendants and I think we need to make that distinction.

  502.  Forgive me, you were talking about what you called badged subsidiaries. I do not quite know how we describe them. I am asking you something that to me is fairly fundamental. If you blur the responsibilities between a constable who may be quite an expensive commodity but is nevertheless in theory both intelligent and trained and those who have different responsibilities may be equally intelligent but differently trained, you may get yourselves and you may get, even more importantly, the rest of us into a slightly difficult situation. What safeguards are you asking for before that change takes place?
  (Mr Manning)  What we are giving is an assurance that those people will be under police management and therefore the police service will be accountable for their actions.

  503.  Forgive me, you are also responsible for a lot of people in this building and some of us would see that there is a difference between a constable and some of the people who are within your management.
  (Mr Manning)  The safeguard I would be looking for is the fact that we would have to train and properly equip the traffic wardens to discharge this additional function.

  504.  So they would be increasingly expensive?
  (Mr Manning)  No. A traffic warden can direct traffic or stand in the middle of the road and tell you to turn left or right.

Mr Donohoe

  505.  Or stop.
  (Mr Manning)  It can direct traffic but it cannot tell you to stop in the sense of "I want to stop and I now want to do something else with you, I want you to talk this will particular person here." They receive training, they have a level of competence already and we are actually extending the power which they have already got to direct traffic to physically stopping the moving traffic thus enabling their wider use to assist in environmental issues and a whole range of other matters.


  506.  When you do a multi-agency stop, the Committee saw one in east London, for instance, and you use motorcycle police to bring in HGVs for the very good and simple reason that they were the people that were both visible and effective and on the whole even the most recalcitrant driver took some notice of a large man on a motor bike, does it seem to you that there will be the same effect with a traffic warden?
  (Mr Manning)  If we were going to require them to be on a motorcycle and to be able to do other duties, which is the case, then probably not, Chairman.

  507.  We are crossing this line, are we not, between a policeman and a non-policeman?
  (Mr Manning)  Yes, we are.

  508.  What I am saying to you is what safeguards need to be built in before we give those powers to somebody else?
  (Mr Manning)  You should not give them to somebody else, that is the point I am making. You should give them to the police service and under police management, police accountability that is the way to have the safeguards that there will be this accountability line and an assurance that the resources will be effectively used.

Chairman:  Mr Stevens, Mr Manning, Mr Brunstrom, thank you very much. You have proved to us you are an under-funded, ethical, highly effective, very modest group of men and we are very grateful to you. You have also highlighted some very important points. Thank you.

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Prepared 22 February 1999