Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to Mr Large from Deputy Chief Constable, Ministry of Defence Police, 8 December 2000

  I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 6 December 2000.

  I will answer the questions you have raised in the order they are asked:

  1.  Section 1(4)(b) of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987 provides for the Secretary of State of Defence to terminate a person's membership (of the MDP) my brackets. It follows, therefore, that while the Secretary of State may terminate a person's membership he/she should also have lesser punishments/sanctions available.

  The punishments/sanctions referred to above can be found in the Ministry of Defence Police (Discipline) Regulations 1985 (as amended 1988) and in particular Regulation 24. A copy of the Regulations is enclosed as you requested.

  2.  Members of the Ministry of Defence Police are also civil servants and provision may be made as to disciplinary and appeal proceedings pursuant to the relevant Order in Council, as part of the Crown's prerogative to appoint and dismiss its own servants. The MDP is in an anomalous position; in while it is a Police Force its members also happen to have the status of civil servants. Accordingly, it is impossible for the Force discipline and appeal regulations to conform exactly both to those of other police forces and to those of other civil servants. Because members of the MDP hold the office of constable the Ministry of Defence made regulations to conform as nearly as possible to those of other police forces.

  As you are aware the Police Act 1996 introduced new misconduct procedures for police officers in England and Wales. Because of the wording of the MDP Act it was not possible for this Force to make corresponding regulations until such time legislation is enacted to amend the MDP Act. Section 4(5) of the MDP Act, however, requires that regulations relating to representation at disciplinary hearings shall be made by Statutory Instrument. SI No 1099 (1988) a copy of which is enclosed.

  3.  You are correct the MDP Discipline Regulations have not yet been amended but will be when legislation is enacted (Armed Forces Bill) to amend the MDP Act 1987.

  4.  I agree the new Police Conduct Regulations 1999 (Code of Conduct) does not contain an offence of "indebtedness". I should also point out, however, that the discipline code of the 1985 discipline regulations did not contain an offence of "indebtedness". Indebtedness is in fact catered for within the Code of Conduct under the Code "Lawful orders". The term "Lawful orders" includes "that officers abide by the provisions of Police Regulations" (The Police Regulations 1995 SI No 215). Regulation 9 relates to the Restrictions on the private life of members of police forces. Schedule 2 paragraph 4 of those Regulations further state, "A member of a police force shall not wilfully refuse or neglect to discharge any lawful debt". (Copy of Schedule 2 enclosed [not printed]).

  As members of the Ministry of Defence Police are not regulated by the Police Regulations the Force has issued written orders covering the various matters contained in Police Regulations. Your client as a member of the MDP, may have breached the MDP discipline code of "Disobedience to orders" in that he may have failed to discharge a lawful debt as provided for in written orders.

  Finally you ask to be supplied with a copy of the Investigating Officer's report. Investigating Officer's reports are subject to Public Interest Immunity and as such are not disclosed. If, in the event, I decide to bring charges against your client he will be supplied with all the necessary statements and exhibits.

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