Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Lindis Percy

  I strongly oppose any extension of the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP). I have been arrested, detained and sometimes charged many times over 20 years for offences mainly to do with invalid military land byelaws. I have personally challenged invalid byelaws through the courts. I have become increasingly concerned at the professionalism and competency of the MDP (over 20 years of experience of the MDP). I am deeply concerned that there is a possibility that the powers of the MDP are being considered.

  I am concerned at the proposal to extend their jurisdiction on the following grounds:

    (1)  even though the MDP purport to have "all the power and privileges of a constable" and their role is to "uphold the law and protect life and property" (precise) in practice there is a lamentable lack of professionalism, competency and lack of knowledge of the law, in my experience.

    (2)  The MDP deal with a few confined areas of the law—namely theft, domestic violence, fraud, military land byelaws etc. They are therefore not subjected to the routines and experiences of the civil police. In my experience the small area of law that the MDP are required to deal with they are often lacking in knowledge.

    (3)  It would be imperative that all of the MDP would be required to go through a rigorous training to be brought up to the level of the civil police. I have grave doubts that for some of them this would not be achieved. I would not trust many of the MDP to have the ability to deal with an extension of their jurisdiction and their powers.

    (4)  For over 20 years there has been serious institutionalised manipulation of the law (namely military land byelaws) by the Ministry of Defence Police;

    (5)  MDP on American bases are "paid for and under the operational control" of the Americans (Affidavit of Colonel M Madrid—Staff Judge Advocate—in a civil case in the High Court involving myself). This means there are serious questions concerning the authority of the MDP being given away to a visiting force—this already has serious implications for the British citizen. The MDP are already compromised, any extension of their jurisdiction would mean a questioning of their dual role.

    (6)  By considering an extension of the jurisdiction of the MDP into areas not naturally within their stated role the citizen is exposed to a police force that would be outside the terms and meaning of the reason why they were created in the first place (MDP Act 1987).

  These are some of my concerns. I strongly urge the Select Committee to resist any extension of the jurisdiction of the MDP. What is needed is a credible police force with the necessary skills, professionalism and standards of behaviour expected, to be recruited from a civil police force.

  I support the stance taken by Robert Key MP.

March 2001

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