Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
160. It is this Simon Webb approach which concerns
me; this stiff upper lip approach that everything is okay and
we are reviewing everything internally. The things you have outlined
seem to be the typical English approachyou set up committees.
In terms of the answers given in terms of the review, things have
changed since 11 September. You have already explained the audit
system, but has anything been found which makes you say anything
has fundamentally changed since 11 September, or have you found
somebody not doing what he should be doing?
(Ms Craig) When 11 September happened, obviously everybody
reviewed their security procedures. We did find, certainly at
headquarters, that there were some things that were not quite
right. The attack on the Pentagon made us think quite hard about
what we should be doing and we do spell out in the memorandum
the sort of measures that were taken in London to make our buildings
secure. Added to that, we did issue an order to all commanders
to be more vigilant because the terrorist threatalthough
we had been guarding against a terrorist threat for many yearshad
clearly changed in quality since 11 September. We are now looking
at the possibility of suicide bomberspeople who are prepared
to waste thousands of livesand also the possibility of
chemical, biological or nuclear attacks. We have borne all those
things in mind since 11 September. We, either in the MoD or with
the Cabinet Office, are carrying out a number of reviews to look
into all those issues.
161. Does your study include any enhancement
of security of the List X companies, British Aerospace, for example,
or are they left to their own devices and the existing controls
(Ms Craig) The List X companies are the
responsibility of the security service and they are advised by
government security advisers from the security service. As far
as I am aware, there have not been any additional measures taken.
162. Could you find out, please, and let us
know. The numbers of the MoD police have dropped immeasurably
over the last 10 years. Now that the threat is significantly enhanced,
are Ministers going to find a good reason why the numbers should
continue to go down or is there a very strong case, as I would
have thought, for the numbers, not just to be stabilised, but
to be actually increased significantly?
(Ms Craig) The numbers are determined by the customer
requirement, and through this year there have been a number of
additional requirements placed on the MDP, so I think the ultimate
numbers will depend on how much work there is for them to do.
Let the Chief Constable add to that.
(Mr Clarke) I think the short answer to your question
is that I would not expect to see great changes in numbers of
MDP officers in the coming months and over the next two or three
years. Nor would I expect to see substantial reductions either.
That comes about because of a number of issues. The quinquennial
review, I believe, has articulated exceptionally well the output
that the Ministry of Defence Police dowhat is it that we
should be doingand I think that is clarification of it,
and I think that it is the responsibility of the heads of establishments.
They have clarity about what it is that the Ministry of Defence
Police do. So, quite frankly, I would not see great changes one
way or the other.
163. Which force did you come from?
(Mr Clarke) I came from West Yorkshire Police.
164. They are not as devious in West Yorkshire
as the Ministry of Defence are! I hope you are on your guard!
(Mr Clarke) I have been there for 31 years.
165. Can I just go back to the budget and the
way in which the budget holder has control and the increased emphasis
now on increased security. You talked about the different style
of threat now. That, by implication, means that there will be
a need to spend more money. Is it the current policy of the Ministry
of Defence to say the budget holder has to accommodate that increased
expenditure on security from within their existing budget or are
you expecting to make a sizeable bid for new expenditure to be
allocated simply to cover the increased cost of securitybecause
there is, in my mind, at least a suggestion that the risk owner
can easily be subdued into becoming a risk-taker because they
cannot afford it?
(Ms Craig) There is no central budget for security,
so it is down to the risk owner to bid for extra funds if he needs
166. Have you had any indication from your political
masters that they are going to make a bid to the Treasury to cover
the increased costs of security within the MoD estate itself?
(Ms Craig) There have been extra measures taken as
a result of 11 September and I believe there is money available
for some of it.
167. Is that coming out of the contingency or
is that coming out of MoD funds centrally?
(Ms Craig) I cannot answer that.
Mr Hancock: Could you let us have a note of
that, because I think it is important. You lay emphasis on the
changed nature and increased nature of the security and we are
entitled to know whether that is coming out of something else
that is going to have to suffer or coming from new money.
168. Probably the private session would be better
for this but I have knowledge of a site which is owned by the
MoD but run by an agency. To save money, and you have talked about
the budget, they have changed from MoD Police to guard force operators,
making sure that one policeman was left because they had to have
an armed presence and only MoD Police can have a gun. That seems
to be fairly low-scale security and following 11 September that
clearly ought to be reviewed. Saving money on the budget, by moving
from MoD Police to a guard force seemed okay at the time, but
since 11 September we have to review that surely?
(Ms Craig) Without knowing what it is, I cannot really
comment, but, yes, I would expect they would review their requirement
but it would be up to them to do that.
Syd Rapson: I will pursue that in private
169. Mr Clarke, if I heard you correctly you
said you did not think numbers were going to go either up or down,
it was going to be fairly steady.
(Mr Clarke) Yes.
170. As I understand that, that means you can
do your job with the number of officers you have. I did get that
right, did I not?
(Mr Clarke) Yes, you did get that right. That does
not mean that all the officers will be deployed at exactly the
same place over the next two or three years. We know that officers
will be withdrawn from one or two locations, there will be increases
for other demands, some of which are post-11 September specifically.
That is why I say, overall I would expect the numbers to be about
171. I have to say to you that I am surprised
by the assurance with which you say that, simply from the point
of view of the question, what is the scale of the problem that
we might face as a result of 11 September. I was struck yesterday
by what the President of the United States said, and I took the
quote down this morning, and he clearly sees it somewhat differently
from you. He said, "The threat is posed by tens of thousands
of terrorists schooled in methods of murder. They are spread throughout
the world like ticking time bombs." I do not know what that
means other than the President of the United States clearly sees
the problem as being potentially quite a big one, and therefore
I would have thought, if I had been in your position, I would
have a rather open mind about what resources I might need in the
(Mr Clarke) I think the reality is, and I am certainly
not going to take issue with the President of the United States
172. Why not?
(Mr Clarke) Not today!the reality is that this
is not just about the MDP, there are many of us involvedHome
Department police forces includedin anti-terrorist activity
and it is not only police officers, whether it be the guard service,
MPGS, whether it is about spending money on physical security.
So the first thing for me to say is that we are only one small
component part of one element in a much bigger picture. The Quinquennial
Review articulated its position prior to 11 September and I think
it has moved on since then, but one area was about the MDP having
the reserve capacity and capability, and that is something which
we are addressing at stage two of the QQR Report. I am not going
to just pick a number out of the air and say what the reserve
capacity should be, because what we need to doand it is
not just MDP, it is MoDis to scenario-plan for what that
reserve capability should be. I think it is fair to say that prior
to 11 September if someone had come up with a scenario equivalent
to 11 September, people would have laughed at us. So the difficult
task at this stage on what is our reserve capability will be realistic
scenario-thinking and planning, not just by MDP but MoD, by government
officials, and maybe there will be a reserve capacity which comes
behind that. But we all know that it is no good having officers
or any group of people just sat around waiting for what if, they
also have to be gainfully employed.
173. I did not mean to imply you should have
officers sitting around doing nothing, all I was tackling was
your absolute assurance, as I understood it to be, that as far
ahead as you could see there was not going to be a requirement
for more officers. All I was saying was, perhaps prudence might
dictate one keeps that as an open question.
(Mr Clarke) I think it is an open question, but with
what we know today, with the plans for the future, in broad, ball
park figures, I would not expect substantial increases or decreases.
174. What they will do, as you know already,
Chief Constable, is they will say it is cheaper to employ a soldier,
it is cheaper to employ private security, it is cheaper to employ
the guard service, because MoD Police are expensive, we have to
pay a pension to them, therefore let's use an alternative. Are
you satisfied that if people do not want your professional policemen
who have access to arms that decision is made on rational security
grounds and not on the grounds of looking after one's own service
and keeping one's own servicemen occupied and, above all, because
they might be cheaper than your alternative?
(Mr Clarke) Let me say that I am as satisfied as I
can be. The issue of security and the employment of Ministry of
Defence police officers, you are quite right, has to be taken
in the context of spending elsewhere, and it is not just an open
cheque book, we all know that. What the QQR did was to clearly
articulate the outputs for those who wish to employ and use the
Ministry of Defence Policethis is what you use Ministry
of Defence Police officers for, and you use MPGS for something
different, and you use MGS for something different from that.
I think that is quite correct. Working to the standards which
are required, working with the customers, if I can put it like
that, either the TLBs or the heads of establishment, we have this
view, this vision, of what MDP contribute to that security. Some
of it will be physical security, some of it will be the complementary
roles of MDP working with MGS. I am sure, certainly in the 14
months I have been here, the discussions with that security advice
have been meaningful discussions about the role of MDP.
175. I was going to suggest that some budget
holders might feel you are rather an expensive commodity.
(Mr Clarke) Yes.
176. And may go for a cheaper option. Many service
personnel who have spoken to me in the past believe you are too
expensive for them.
(Mr Clarke) We are expensive by comparison with, say,
MGS, but we do a very different function. I think one of the key
issues is, we have to be careful because we do not want the cost
of everything and the value of nothing, if I may use that term.
The issue is, what is the value of a Ministry of Defence Police
officer, and it is in very specific roles and functions. If someone
else can do a job that is being done by an MDP officer, which
can be done by someone else who has the necessary powers and authority,
the necessary skills, then I think it is right to have that collaborative
approach to security. We are not talking about it being done by
the cheapest option, it is the role and responsibility that complementary
skills can add throughout the organisation. That is a mature way
of looking at the deployment of Ministry of Defence Police officers.
177. Do you think that happens? Do you think
those judgments are made?
(Mr Clarke) In my experience over the last 12 months,
and you may have examples before that, yes, there is that mature
discussion which goes on, whether it be with the DLO or Strike
Command or whoever the TLB might be. I believe there are mature
discussions which go on. What happens, and again I fully understand
it, when there are reductions, and we saw this with the RO sites,
it becomes personalised because these are officers who, if they
want to retain their employment with MDP, have to be up-rooted
and moved. I understand that, that is about me and my staff sensitively
managing the issues of redeployment of staff. But in terms of
my role and responsibility for managing the Ministry of Defence
Police as an agency, I have to give value for money, and I share
that responsibility with the TLBs, with the DGS&S and with
the security advisers at establishments, and I think that is the
mature way to do it. The tendency will be, will it not, to take
risks, to cut budgets, but I think, sadly, an incident like 11
September comes as a real wake-up and reminder that security is
still key. I think we have had that constant reminder here in
the UK particularly because of Irish terrorism. We have to keep
adapting to the needs of each establishment.
178. Could you send us, Ms Craig, a list of
some statistics on what your people are guarding, the number of
buildings, the number of hectares? Could you do that rather than
Mr Hancock putting down a Parliamentary Question, which might
(Ms Craig) Yes.
179. What is the estate, the number of personnel
and, if you can, some sort of break-down. Secondly, and very briefly,
have you had to change any instructions on the employment of private
security since 11 September because they are eventually going
to be subject to some form, not a very good form, of statutory
(Ms Craig) No, we have not issued any new instructions.
4 See Appendix 1 p 62. Back
See Appendix p 62. Back
See Appendix 1 p 62. Back