Examination of Witness (81-99)|
THURSDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2001
Chairman: Welcome. You are aware of our
inquiry and you have heard your colleagues' remarks. I will ask
Gerald Howarth who is well known in Staffordshire to start the
81. May I place on record, if it does not damage
irreparably our guest's career, that the Chief Constable and I
do go back quite a long way. When I was a Member of Parliament
in Staffordshire he was the Assistant Chief Constable and I have
a very high regard for him.
Can we address first of all the question of terrorism? Before
11 September had you identified the constraints placed on the
Ministry of Defence police as an inhibiting factor in your being
able to deal with terrorism?
(Mr Giffard) Some things have arisen
in this entire debate around where other police forces, non-Home
Office forces, may not actually have been included in a variety
of powers that police officers did have, in for example the various
bits of the Terrorism Act 2000 which, whether by intent or not,
happened not to include the British Transport Police, MDP and
AEAC for certain purposes. It is the view of ACPO Terrorism committee
pretty firmly that we should support what is being currently proposed
from a counter terrorist point of view.
82. So broadly speaking you are in favour of
(Mr Giffard) Yes.
83. Was it the case before then that you did
feel that they did not have the necessary powers to enable you
fully to co-operate with them in pursuit of dealing with terrorism?
(Mr Giffard) If we are being completely specific about
terrorism I would not go as far as saying that the gap had been
identified at that stage. However, we had, long before 11 September,
been consulted during the Quinquennial review of MDP and a number
of points were being made about clarifying the powers available
to Ministry of Defence police officers which we were keen to establish
so long as we did not get as far as dramatically extending their
powers. I think things have changed a little bit as far as that
goes and the terrorism side of it clearly means that we feel we
should be in a position to support what is being proposed at the
moment on the terrorist side.
84. So you do not regard them as a dramatic
increase in powers?
(Mr Giffard) We need to be careful about this. I have
a great deal of confidence in the Chief Constable of the Ministry
of Defence Police in what he is saying and has said to the Armed
Forces Bill Select Committee about focusing on their core business,
and I think I heard Mr Ray say that this morning. What we do not
want is fishing exercises going on by Ministry of Defence police
officers who for some reason are bored on their patrol and are
going to go out and wander round our town centres and are not
under the control of the local senior officers. That is what we
are trying to avoid. On the other hand there are some significant
good examples of joint patrols in a variety of parts of the country
already, I suspect in Aldershot, I know in Colchester, and indeed
in North Yorkshire where I served there are even now in the current
circumstances (and in the current circumstances only) jointly
crewed armed response vehicles.
85. If we can turn to some specific examples
of where there might be co-operation, we had a discussion earlier
about cordons. In what circumstances do you see the Ministry of
Defence police exercising the powers that will be conferred upon
them by this Bill in respect of setting up cordons or establishing
a stop and search of vehicles, and do you have any problems with
that? Do you see any practical difficulties?
(Mr Giffard) I have spoken this week to the Chief
Constable of North Yorkshire police who, with Menwith Hill in
particular and Fylingdales, has some very particular problems
related to the establishing of proper cordons round there. They
have chosen through their own Assistant Chief Constable to make
application under section 44 to extend the outer cordon around
Menwith Hill. The view being expressed is that it has cost North
Yorkshire Police well over a million pounds in additional cost
to protect the bases that they are involved in protecting. They
have had some support (and I think that is a matter of public
knowledge) from the Home Office in repaying some of that additional
expenditure, but much of the work that is being done there could
perfectly properly have been done by Ministry of Defence police
officers working under a revised protocol and with the agreement
of the chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police.
86. Talking about the cordons, for example,
and the stop and search, in what circumstances do you envisage
the Ministry of Defence policy setting those up and will they,
for example, liaise with you in setting those up outside base
(Mr Giffard) If it is outside the base area I do not
believe they should set them up without having the prior approval
of the local Home Office Chief Constable. My reading of it is
that I do not think they are asking for that and nothing in the
current arrangements with MDP under the 1999 Home Office Circular
would suggest that anything would be done without the local Chief
Constable's prior approval, and that deals with armed patrols,
it deals with any assistance that the MDP might be asked to provide
being called upon by the local chief to help.
87. When I was doing some research for a book
that I was writing on policing and security I chose Alton Towers
and Tina Turner concerts for my field research which I took a
great deal of time to work at. One of your guys was liaising with
Alton Towers and I asked him if he had had any MoD territory in
Staffordshire and he did not. Is that the case?
(Mr Giffard) No, that is not the case. We have both
Whittington Barracks and, more importantly, RAF Stafford where
there is a significant MDP and Military Guard Service contingent,
so I speak with some experience of that, but also clearly from
five years in North Yorkshire.
Chairman: Perhaps he was as overawed
by Tina Turner as I was and not able to give a correct answer
to the question.
88. You obviously have no objection to the powers
that are being given to the MoD Police. Is there anything new
post-September 11 which means that these powers are needed and
is it right that they are going to be tagged on to what is a special
piece of legislation rather than being part of a separate stand-alone
properly considered piece of legislation? What is the rush to
have these powers put on?
(Mr Giffard) I have to say that we were keen for the
clarification of the powers to take place under the Armed Forces
Bill and were supporting that. Those particular provisions, whilst
not related directly to terrorism, failed at that stage and as
far as we are concerned the sooner they come in the better because
that clarification we think is necessary. The world has changed;
the terrorism position has changed. The North Yorkshire position
around Menwith Hill has dramatically changed. Certainly when I
was up there it was not a question of putting a cordon out five
or ten miles. It might have been a question of checking the mortar
base plates around those places but much of that was done on a
local agreement with the Chief Constable signing up in the first
place as to what was going to happen in anticipation of the procedures
there. The speed with which things have happened now and the nature
of the change in the threat means that we think from the terrorism
side that this is now necessary for the Ministry of Defence Police
to be able to expand outwards, outside the wire, and do some more
of that policing of their own estate, because that is effectively
what it still is in our view.
89. You say that in North Yorkshire it is being
done already so what is the rush? Is it the fact that the MoD
have civil servants who have picked this off the shelf as unfinished
business to tag on to this legislation? Is there a rush to get
it into this piece of legislation?
(Mr Giffard) I cannot speak for the Ministry of Defence.
We have said that our view is that this ought to come through.
We think there was a lacuna, if that is the right word,
in the Terrorism Act 2000 where the non-Home Office forces were
left out and we think it would be helpful to the overall counter-terrorist
battle, for that is what it is, if that were sorted out as part
of this legislation.
90. So it is basically unfinished business?
(Mr Giffard) Some of it is. Not all of it is. In all
honesty some of it has come upon us since the Armed Forces Bill
or that part of it did not go through.
91. Mr Giffard, you may have answered this question
in reply to Mr Jones but I am not sure so I am going to ask it
nonetheless. It is the question of the full constabulary powers
for MoD police. It is my understanding that the powers given in
the present Bill, that is, the Anti-Terrorism Bill, conferand
I see the wording hereare considerably broader than that
in the Armed Forces Bill.
(Mr Giffard) Yes, that is entirely right.
92. Is the answer you gave to Mr Jones that
you are perfectly relaxed about that?
(Mr Giffard) We believe that on the wider powers which
are anti-terrorist related that should happen. The wider powers
that came originally from that bit of the Armed Forces Bill that
failed, which have been changed slightly in their nature in the
way in which this particular piece of legislation has been written,
as I heard the official from this side of me say, still leave
me content that it is the proper thing to do as part of the rightful
clarification (rather than extension) of MDP powers. I do not
think in all honesty, as long as it is being pursued responsibly,
and I am sure it will be, that those powers will need to be used
very often, but it is a nonsense that a car coming out of RAF
Stafford and coming across a road accident has no powers to stop
traffic in order to prevent further injury. It is nonsense that
if the driver is running away from that car in the accident they
cannot run after that driver and arrest him on suspicion of having
stolen the car or being drunk or whatever it may be, but their
citizen's power of arrest that they have at the moment technically
does not allow them to do either of those. To have Mr Ray in uniform
here this morning with some very different powers from me and
I am in uniform illustrates the point that the two of us have
very different powers but only we know that. In the eyes of the
public they think it is very strange.
93. So you are quite content?
(Mr Giffard) Yes.
94. I ask that again against the background
that it was interesting that in the Armed Forces Bill Committee
report, which I am sure you have read, at paragraph 39, the Committee
latched very quickly on to a proposition put forward by ACPO,
perhaps it was by you at the time; I do not know, and the Committee
accepted what ACPO said. They said, "We would be completely
opposed to the MDP actively seeking to increase its involvement
in general policing duties" and so on, in other words going
on fishing expeditions. You did touch on this earlier on but this
was quite a concern you had then and the Committee latched on
to it and even went so far as to say that there should be monitoring.
How do you say now?
(Mr Giffard) Firstly, I say the same as I said in
the letter that I think is part of the submission that is in the
appendices to your report. As Chairman of ACPO's General Policing
Business Area I wrote saying, amongst other things, clarify the
powers, fine, but we do not wantand I think it is a good
word to useMinistry of Defence police officers going out
on fishing expeditions doing ordinary policing duties in ordinary
policing areas away from the defence estate. That was and remains
our position, but in those events and occasions where they come
across something both I and the public I think would expect a
uniformed police officer to intervene and we are content that
their training is good enough to enable them to do this, but they
should be able to exercise constabulary powers in those circumstances.
There are other sets of circumstances in terms of assistance by
MDP to Home Office forces in two different respects where this
extension, because that is an extension of powers, is still welcome
and that is either when we are engaged in some major disaster
where we really do need help from outside, or secondly, in the
occasional event where it is sensible for a Chief Constable to
invite the Ministry of Defence Police to help on a particular
inquiry because of their expertise. There is an inquiry that the
Wiltshire police are doing at the moment into some long ago events
at Porton Down where there are Ministry of Defence police officers
assisting the Wiltshire force inquiry. It is a Wiltshire-led inquiry
and it seems to us right and proper that working alongside their
Wiltshire colleagues in those circumstances the MDP officers,
under the command and control of the Wiltshire Chief Constable,
should have constabulary powers.
95. So is it the case that the protocol, these
arrangements between MoD police and the Home Department police
forces, would tweak all of that, establish exactly where the parameters
(Mr Giffard) Yes. The Home Office circular is only
two pages. It will need to be a little bit longer if this legislation
goes through but I do not believe that it need be a hugely long
time subject only to the fact thatand I can only speak
for the England and Wales part of this; Scotland and Northern
Ireland may have different arrangementsthe right sort of
agreements could be reached fairly quickly by ACPO, MDP, Home
Office and Ministry of Defence.
96. Who will take the initiative on revising
(Mr Giffard) I have indicated in my letter to the
Ministry of Defence as part of this that we are pleased to be
involved as soon as they get going. I can only say that if Royal
Assent and implementation of these powers is to be fairly quick,
and there are some hints that it might be fairly quick, if it
goes through, then I personally would seek to be there very quickly
saying to Ministry of Defence police, "We need to get on
97. As it is going to happen anyway, there is
no reason why some thinking should not be taking place already?
(Mr Giffard) Yes, and the 1999 document is a pretty
helpful base to set out on. I am confident, and we may want to
go into that or not, that their involvement with the ACPO Firearms
Training Manual and the way in which they use it and in fact have
helped to re-write it when it was re-written, will make life quite
easy down that path as well.
98. You will have heard Mr Howarth, my colleague,
asking Mr Ray in the last session about the inexperience perhaps
of MoD police in dealing with the public in very sensitive circumstances.
Is this something that you have a view on and do you think they
would be able and equipped to deal with the public in sensitive
(Mr Giffard) I have seen nothing to suggest not. The
confidence of my colleague in North Yorkshire in allowing their
people to be part of an armed response vehicle in the outskirts
of Harrogate around Menwith Hill tends to suggest to me that he
has that confidence too. I know of joint patrols between the two
forces in military garrison towns and I have seen nothing to suggest
that we should not have that confidence, plus the fact that we
are trusting all these people at some stage in their careers to
be carrying firearms.
99. One has anecdotal evidence of not a very
good relationship between Home Department police forces and the
non-Home Department police forces. What levels of meetings would
you have, Chief Constable? What would be the ambience of the relationship,
the atmospherics? Is there an attempt to not bring them together
into one structure but to try to overcome any tensions? You have
the impression that some people think of the non-Home Departments
as all being like the Royal Parks Police or whatever, but if you
are guarding a nuclear establishment you have to be very professional;
if you have to look after hooligans driving between Birmingham
and London you have to be very professional; and if you are guarding
incredibly expensive and sensitive assets of the Ministry of Defence
you have to be very professional. I cannot really understand why
this impression might emerge that these guys out there are somehow
more like private security than proper police forces.
(Mr Giffard) I would like to think that the position
was improved by the fact that the pure guarding duties were put
to the Military Guard Service in a lot of different ways and the
fact that these were sometimes seen by our own officers as armed
guards and nothing more has progressively changed. I know that
my officers have a perfectly healthy local relationship with the
contingent in RAF Stafford. At more senior level I have indicated
that we are sufficiently confident in their firearms instructors
that one of them sits as part of our firearms training and advisory
group, and at more senior level Lloyd Clarke sits on ACPO Terrorism
Committee. That is a fairly significant endorsement I think. I
know Mr Clarke well because we were Assistant Chief Constables
together in neighbouring Yorkshire forces. He is a very practical
man and I think he is focusing the force on its core business
1 Note by Witness: Mr Giffard believes that
at the relevant time his rank was Superintendent or Chief Superintendent. Back