Examination of Witnesses (Questions 570
TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2001
570. Good morning. I warmly welcome Mr Tom Cullen
and Mr Paul Trickey of the Defence Police Federation. Before the
Committee asks you questions, is there any particular statement
that you would like to make in addition to the written evidence
that you have already given to the Committee?
(Mr Trickey) On behalf of Tom and myself,
I would like to say that we apologise for David King, our General
Secretary, not being here. He is off sick. Thank you for this
opportunity to come before the Committee.
571. We have been presented with some cases
illustrating the need for enhancement of MDP powers. I do not
know whether you have this document in front of you. It says:
"In the early hours of a Friday morning, two MDP officers
on mobile patrol in the area of the Haymarket, London W1, saw
three youths engaged in a violent fight". It then goes on
to develop that. Why would two MDP officers be on patrol in the
(Mr Cullen) They would be going from one Ministry
of Defence location to another. In London, there is a lot of MoD
properties and MoD police are responsible for policing that property.
That is where they would be going at that time of night.
572. So they would check on something in one
place and then they would go off to the next place?
(Mr Trickey) Yes. It would be a follow-up routine
573. I think you listened to the previous evidence
given this morning. We were having a lot of problems working out
exactly what MDP investigate. When the Bill was put forward in
1987, the Minister said that it was really for minor offences.
It seems that that has grown since then. What is your view?
(Mr Trickey) The perception of the MoD police has
changed from what it was. We have progressed. We have become more
professional, more accountable to the chief constable and to everyone.
It is a natural progression. As we have progressed, we have dealt
with more than just minor crimes. Bear in mind also, we have a
fraud squad that comes back with £43 million for the Minister's
574. Bearing that in mind, there does not seem
to be much significant change in the numbers in the force.
(Mr Trickey) The numbers have fallen. Originally we
were 5,000 in strength and we are now down to 3,200 and by the
year 2002-03 we shall be down to roughly 3,000 officers. Originally
we were 5,300.
575. While your force has changed in its nature,
it appears to be dealing with more serious offences nowthat
is the implication if it is not just minor offencesand
has a wider scope, which is why you want the jurisdiction in the
Bill, but in actual fact the numbers have decreased.
(Mr Cullen) We deal with a lot of cases now that we
should have been dealing with years ago. However, they did not
get reported to us; they were reported to the local Home Office
force. The police Protocol has sorted out all those problems.
Any MoD-related incident now goes to the MoD police.
576. Were you over-manned in the beginning?
(Mr Cullen) No.
577. Are you under-manned now?
(Mr Cullen) Not at all. We had some static guarding
posts from which we were taken away when they introduced the Military
Provost Guard Service, which has taken over some of them and some
years ago the Military Guard Service took over some posts where
they do static duties at gates and so on.
(Mr Trickey) Originally in 1987 we had common roles
where we covered the bases and they have all gone now. Times have
changed. Therefore our numbers have gone down. Also in reference
to a remark made earlier, we are not looking to go out and do
jobs; we are looking to extend the law in order to protect our
officers. We are not going out to police estates and we are not
going to take primacy away from the Home Office. In the early
1960s I was an officer in Somerset. Bath is in Somerset, but I
was not an officer with police rights in Bath because Bath has
a city force. We are more or less like that now. The 1964 Act
changed that for all the Home Office forces, but it did not involve
us. So now the MoD policeman is, in fact, in the same circumstances
in which I was in 1963 when I was a policeman in Somerset, but
I was not a police officer in Bath; I was only a civilian.
578. I appreciate that. You may be able to help
me with regard to citizen's arrests and the powers of citizen's
(Mr Cullen) Perhaps I can go back a second. The main
thing that we want for our officers relates to the case that you
described in the Haymarket. One can come across an incident where
a member of the public sees you in a police uniform and automatically
they want you to deal with an incident. You do not always have
time to stop and explain who you are and then ring up the right
authority to deal with the incident because life may be in danger.
You have to deal with the situation and report it afterwards.
It would be in the interest of the public and in the interest
of our officers to have that protection so that when they come
across an incident they can deal with it. They are not out there
trying to do the job of the Home Office, but they can come across
instances in which a member of the public wants them to deal with
something as a police officer.
579. I think we appreciate that. Your officers
in a situation like that have no different powers from those of
an ordinary citizen, except that they are wearing a uniform.
(Mr Trickey) That is true. They have about as much
power as a milk-float man. As regards citizen's arrest, you can
hold a man until the intent goes or you see a breach of the peace