Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160
THURSDAY 18 JANUARY 2001
160. Can we move on then to Clause 16?
(Mr Miller) Clause 16 has a total of eight sub-sections,
seven of which define the various phrases and words used in Part
II of the Bill. Sub-section 7 is designed to avoid doubt about
the effect of Clauses 2 to 15, which are earlier in the Bill.
Those clauses are intended to limit or replace some of the commanding
officer's powers to investigate offences. They are not intended
to affect the rights of either Service police or commanding officers
to enter or search places under Service control, other than living
accommodation, nor, indeed, to search Service vehicles which are
not being driven. Those powers will continue and this clause is
intended to make it clear. It also makes it clear that Part II
does not limit a commanding officer's powers to stop and search
a Service person or Service vehicles or to enter and search Service
Living Accommodation for reasons unconnected with the investigation
of the offence. There would still be a power to enter and search.
A commanding officer could conduct a health and safety search
without a warrant, that is not affected by this.
161. Thank you. Please could you explain why
the definition of United Kingdom Police Force on page 14, line
25 does not include British Transport Police, Atomic Energy Authority
Police and the Royal Parks Police?
(Mr Morrison) This is a definition for the purposes
of Part II. There are other definitions of police force which
bring in the Atomic Energy Constabulary for other parts of the
Bill. This relates to the circumstances in which the CO is able
to use his reserve power. It relates to Clause 7, for example,
where the CO has a power to authorise the entry and search of
relevant Service premises in an emergency without a Service policeman
being available or where a Service policeman or United Kingdom
police officer is not available. This is to say when the CO has
to look around to make sure, if you like, that there is no alternative
way of acting. There is no policeman who can exercise the necessary
powers. He only has to have regard as to whether there is somebody
available from these listed forces. We did not think it necessary
to require the commanding officer to have regard to the possibility
of the United Kingdom AEA Constabulary being available. It is
all part of avoiding a CO acting in an emergency from being too
burdened in deciding whether he can act or not.
162. Mr Morrison, for the sake of putting three
more lines in, being belt and braces, you would be a bit stuck
if that happened to be the only outcome. I agree it may not be
the most likely outcome. Is there a specific reason, are you trying
to save paper or something?
(Mr Morrison) He can act. The relevant clause gives
him power to act in an emergency. He cannot act if there is a
person from the relevant police force who could be available.
It seemed reasonable to limit it to the main police forces who
might reasonably be called upon.
Mr Randall: I am sure they would take
exception to that.
163. British Transport Police could be of great
benefit with large numbers of servicemen and women travelling
by train. I can think of circumstances where certainly the Atomic
Energy Police are travelling with Army convoys and Navy convoys.
(Mr Morrison) This is about the search of military
premises. I think to add to the answer I gave, I am fairly sure
with the British Transport Police, and AEAC they were excluded
simply because they would not have any powers to act on military
164. A jurisdiction problem.
(Mr Morrison) As far as the Royal Parks Police are
concerned, it is conceivable they have general jurisdiction. I
do not know if they have jurisdiction to act outside the Royal
Parks. It is fairly unlikelyexcept in Wellington Barracks,
and in those circumstances, to be honest, we do not envisage an
emergency where a CO would be able to act without a Service policeman.
165. Would they be contained in section B, or
any police force in section two?
(Mr Morrison) No, that is outside London, that is
the Home Departments.
(Mr Morrison) You would have the Met available to
take into account before he could exercise his power.
Chairman: Thank you. Can I then, with
the Committee's agreement, adjourn our proceedings at this point
and we will reconvene to hear further presentations and evidence
next Tuesday at 10.30 am. Perhaps the Committee can reconvene
at 10.15 am to consider one or two points. Can I thank you very
much, indeed. Thank you and all your colleagues and members of
Service personnel for coming along this morning and certainly
giving many of us a much clearer insight into some of the particular
issues and difficulties we need to address to the benefit of our
Armed Forces personnel. Thank you very much. I am looking forward
to seeing you next Tuesday.