Memorandum from the Association of Chief
This paper represents the view of the Association
of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and has been prepared following
wide consultation with the police forces of England, Wales and
ACPO is supportive of the work undertaken by
the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in preparing the legislation
and has been actively involved in the process. In particular,
ACPO supports the creation of statutory responsibilities in contingency
planning and the requirement for partnership working. Some aspects
of the draft Bill consolidate existing practice, notably in local
multi agency planning groups based on police force areas, but
other proposals are new, such as the regional tier. As the Bill
is enabling legislation it is difficult to make comment on some
clauses until such time as draft regulations are produced; ACPO
believes that wide consultation on those draft regulations would
The consultation document seeks comments on
23 specific questions; these will be responded to numerically
before other issues are addressed.
Q1. Is the definition of emergency the right
one? If not, in what ways should it be tightened or expanded to
exclude certain classes or event or situation?
The suggested definition appears adequate in
defining the wide range of events and threats that present the
potential for critical disruption. There is concern, however,
that a routine task of the police and other emergency services
is to respond to events which meet the definition, but which do
not require the level of inter-agency planning as defined in clause
2 of the Bill. It is therefore suggested that reference should
be made to "major emergency", as defined in "Dealing
with Disaster"; primarily this removes routine events and
concentrates upon those disruptive challenges of such a scale
that they cannot be dealt with as part of normal day to day activities.
Q2. Do you agree that the obligations imposed
on both Category 1 and 2 responders by or under the new framework
will ensure operationally effective and financially efficient
planning and response to emergencies at the local level? If not,
how should these obligations be increased or reduced?
ACPO considers that two further obligations
should be imposed on Category 1 responders, namely the requirement
to exercise plans and the requirement to train staff to enable
those plans to be viable.
ACPO has concern regarding the requirement,
in clause 2(1)(f), to arrange for the publication of assessments
and plans. Whilst accepting the limitations placed by the legislation
in sub-paragraphs (i)-(iii), there is the potential for security
to be compromised through the publication of information relating
to specific sites. It is suggested that clear guidance should
be given in the notes to ensure that due diligence is exercised
by site owners, and other responders who may have a planning responsibility,
so that there is no potential for security to be breached by the
publication of sensitive information.
The draft Bill, clause 2(1)(a)(g) places each
Category 1 responder under a number of duties, such as risk assessment,
planning for business continuity, monitoring plans and warning
arrangements. ACPO considers that, notwithstanding clause 2(2),
these duties should not be placed upon each Category 1 responder;
rather there should be a collective responsibility to ensure that
such arrangements are in place in that locality. It is accepted
that regulations made under clause 2(2) may clarify the position
but, without the benefit of having seen such regulations, it is
considered that the duties, as stated, are too general.
ACPO has significant concern regarding the duty
to maintain arrangements for warning the public; again, regulations
may help to clarify what is envisaged. Existing legislation, for
example COMAH, already requires plant operators to maintain warning
arrangements. Similarly, the Environment Agency has responsibility
for flood warning dissemination. There appears little benefit,
and significant risk, in altering these arrangements. The ACPO
position reflects the draft position statement prepared for the
Civil Contingencies Committee (Policy), in 2001, by a working
group chaired by the Home Office. A copy is given at Appendix
A. Put simply, at fixed sites the operator should be responsible
for public warnings, for flooding it should be the Environment
Agency, for severe weather warnings it should be the Met Office,
and for mobile emergencies, such as chemical leaks from road tankers,
it should be the police. In practice the emergency services and
local authorities combine to ensure that communities receive adequate
warnings, but lead responsibility should be carefully considered.
It appears desirable that Category 1 responders, meeting as the
Local Resilience Forum, should be charged with ensuring the adequate
warning arrangements are in place.
Q3. Do you agree that the membership of categories
1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should be added,
moved or removed? If not, please explain how the powers should
be expanded or constrained.
ACPO is supportive of the nominated Category
1 responders, although there is concern that the inclusion of
Shire District Councils may not be appropriate. It is recognised
that Shire Districts vary significantly in size and therefore
resources, but the inclusion of both Counties and Shire Districts
is seen as potentially difficult, notwithstanding the proposal
that regulations may be made which would allow County Councils
to act on behalf of the Districts. The consultation document recognises
the need for clarity regarding NHS participation in Local Resilience
Forums. The ACPO view is that there are two distinct phases in
the NHS response to a major emergencyone which deals with
on-site treatment, triage and patient transport from the scene,
and the other which deals with longer term patient care. NHS ambulance
trusts clearly represent the first of these, and should therefore
be included as Category 1 responders. The second role could be
filled by either primary care trusts or strategic health authorities;
ACPO prefers the latter option as it would provide a wide level
view more in keeping with the strategic remit of the Local Resilience
The role of Category 2 responders is that of
"co-operating bodies", and it is important that local
consideration be applied as to which bodies are appropriate in
each police force area. Given that the role is one of co-operation
rather than as a statutory body to undertake specific tasks, it
is likely that as comprehensive a list as possible should be produced
so that, if necessary, they will be available to assist Category
1 responders. Therefore chemical, nuclear and other industrial
companies should be included, as indeed should appropriate voluntary
organisations that have specific roles in response plans. The
key factor is that local circumstances should dictate local arrangements,
and the legislation should enable this to be readily achievable.
Q4. Do you agree that the Bill gives the
Government the right balance of regulation making powers to meet
its aims of consistency and flexibility?
The ACPO response is that is very difficult
to comment until the regulations have been seen; however, the
context in which such regulations will be made is seen as appropriate.
Q5. Do you agree that consistent arrangements
for multi-agency working should be established, through the creation
of Local Resilience Forums? If not, how else should consistency
There is clearly a need for consistency in local
arrangements, and ACPO is supportive of the proposal that, to
a very large extent, captures what is already in place.
Q6. Do you agree that the partial Regulatory
Impact Assessment accurately reflects the costs and benefits of
the Bill proposals? If not, how should it be changed?
The partial RIA does not include the costs and
benefits on local authorities and the emergency services. Paragraph
9 of the RIA states that "New burdens, not falling upon businesses,
charities or the voluntary sector, were accordingly identified
at the regional level, but were not felt to be significant at
other levels." It is the ACPO view that this is unwarranted
assumption, and that the police service, inter alia, will incur
additional costsparticularly in ensuring auditable records
are maintained, in arrangements for public warnings and in exercising
and training. It is considered highly likely that local authorities
would have a similar view.
Q7. Do you agree that funding for Category
1 local authorities should be transferred from specific grant
(Civil Defence Grant) to Revenue Support Grant? If not, why should
specific grant be retained?
The ACPO position is that this is essentially
a matter for local authorities as the police service does not
receive any funding for contingency planning. However, should
local authorities not receive specific grant then there is potential
for other activities to take priority over contingency planning
and, given the joint responsibilities of Category 1 responders,
the police service may face additional cost.
The need for robust audit and inspection regimes
will be even more important in the absence of specific grant.
Q8. Do you agree that the level of funding
to support the Bill is sufficient? If not, please explain why
you believe it to be too high or too low.
It is the ACPO view that this is a matter for
local authorities, subject to the response to question 7, above.
Q9. Do you agree that performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism
would you like to see established?
Experience of working with Crime and Disorder
Reduction Partnerships suggests that multi agency performance
measures are both difficult to create and have limitations in
holding organisations to account. Similarly, the Government's
view that existing inspection regimes would be effective in ensuring
consistent performance management does not appear to recognise
that there is greater value in a separate, specialist inspectorate
for contingency planning. The Government's proposal is that the
Audit Commission, emergency services inspectorates, and the utility
regulators would each be responsible for overseeing a part of
the planning process; ACPO believes that there is merit in further
investigating the creation of a small separate body to ensure
that all responders fulfil their responsibilities, both separately
Q10. Do you agree with the role of Regional
Nominated Co-ordinator? If not, who should take responsibility
at the regional level, and with what responsibilities?
ACPO recognises the benefits of the role of
a Regional Nominated Co-ordinator. The definition of "co-ordinator"
in "Dealing with Disaster" adequately outlines the task
of the RNC and will enable services, authorities and others to
work harmoniously together. Again using the "Dealing with
Disaster" definitions, the RNC would not command resources
of other agencies, but would ensure that they work together, each
under their own command structure. ACPO is of the view that this
would enhance resilience without entering contentious areas such
as "operational independence" of Chief Constables.
One procedural difficulty is that, as proposed,
the RNC would not be formally appointed until special legislative
measures were taken, at "Level Three", but would be
required to chair the Regional and Civil Contingencies Committee
at "Level Two" which preceded it. This apparent anomaly
can be overcome by using the nomination "Regional Nominated
Co-ordinator (Designate)" until such time as special legislative
measures were introduced. ACPO supports the proposal for the RNC
to be drawn from the lead organisation, but firmly believes that
this should be an officer appointment, and not an elected member
or Government Minister.
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
ACPO supports this proposal, although it does
recognise that some emergencies could occur where sub-regional
designation would be more appropriatefor example east coast
flooding could cross four regions, albeit in two of them only
one county would be involved.
Q12. Do you agree that the current emergency
powers framework is outdated and needs to be replaced? If you
do not think it should be replaced, please explain why.
ACPO agrees that the current emergency powers
framework is outdated and needs to be replaced. Existing legislation
is neither sufficiently flexible nor sophisticated to support
resilience work in a complex technical society.
Q13. Do you agree that the circumstances
in which special legislative measures may be taken should be widened
from limited threats to public welfare to include threats to the
environment, to the political, administrative and economic stability
of the UK and to threats to its security resulting from war or
terrorism? If not, how would you like to see the circumstances
narrowed or extended?
ACPO recognises the need to widen the basis
upon which emergency powers may be introduced.
Q14. Do you agree that the use of special
legislative measures should be possible on a sub-UK basis? If
not, please explain.
See the response to question 11, above.
Q15. Do you agree that the authority to declare
that special legislative measures are necessary should remain
with The Queen as Head of State, acting on the advice of Ministers?
If not, who should it sit with? If not, is delay acceptable or
is there another alternative mechanism?
Although there is some support within ACPO for
the view that the Head of State, acting on the advice of Ministers,
should be the authority for such action, this is not unanimous
and, in particular, there is a view in Wales that this decision
should rest with the devolved administration.
Q16. Do you agree that in the event the process
of making a Royal Proclamation would cause a delay which might
result in significant damage or harm, a Secretary of State should
be able to make the declaration in the place of The Queen as Head
of State, acting on the advice of Ministers?
ACPO does not believe that it is acceptable
for any delay to occur in responding to emergencies and that,
therefore, in such circumstances it would be appropriate for a
Secretary of State to so act.
Q17. Do you agree that emergency regulations
should be treated as primary legislation for the purposes of the
Human Rights Act? If not, please explain why.
ACPO is of the view that the regulations should
be treated as primary legislation so that necessary urgent action,
which might include powers to restrict the free movement of citizens,
could not be delayed by an injunction. This would not preclude
challenge by due process but would ensure that urgent necessary
action would not be delayed.
Q18. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Scotland strike the right balance between reflecting the devolution
settlement and ensuring consistency across the UK? If not, what
changes are necessary?
ACPO does not represent chief constables of
Scottish police forces and therefore does not respond to this
Q19. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Wales strike the right balance between reflecting the devolution
settlement and ensuring consistency across the UK? If not, what
changes are necessary?
The view of chief constables of Welsh police
forces is that the Welsh Assembly Government should be allowed
to declare special legislative measures without further reference.
Q20. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Northern Ireland strike the right balance between reflecting
the devolution settlement and ensuring consistency across the
UK? If not, what changes are necessary?
The Police Service of Northern Ireland agrees
with the proposals for Northern Ireland.
Q21. Do you agree that the role and accountability
of the Emergency Co-ordinator in a devolved country should be
flexible to reflect different types of emergency? If not, what
alternative role should the Emergency Co-ordinator have?
ACPO agrees that the role and accountability
of the Emergency Co-ordinator in a devolved country should be
flexible so as to reflect different types of emergency.
Q22. Do you agree that the devoled administrations
should be able to declare that special legislative measures are
necessary, and take action accordingly? If not, please explain
ACPO recognises the view that Devolved Administrations
should be able to declare special legislative measures as valid.
Q23. Do you agree that London should have
different arrangements for co-operation, and that the proposals
set out are the right way to deliver this? If not, what arrangements
should be put in place?
ACPO considers that the proposed arrangements
for London are appropriate, in that they reflect existing practice
which has been shown to be effective.
1. Part 2, Emergency Powers
ACPO is pleased to note that clause 21(3) would
enable regulations to be made that would allow police officers
to contain persons within a cordon, for example if it was suspected
that they had been contaminated. Similarly, clause 21(2) would
enable regulations to be made requiring persons to be de-contaminated.
There is some debate as to whether such powers exist in Common
Law, and the proposed regulations will give confidence to police
officers should such powers be needed.
ACPO wishes to register concern that some of
the Emergency Powers, as proposed, do not appear to meet operational
requirements. In particular:
(a) there is no specific power of arrest
and no specific authority to use force when dealing with offences
proposed at clause 21(3)(i);
(b) the upper limits of punishment detailed
in clause 21(4)(d) are low when compared to the consequences of
(c) the stipulation that regulations may
not prohibit industrial action may have consequences in undermining
essential work by rescuers and others, clause 21(4)(b); and
(d) the inability to require industrial service,
clause 21(4)(a) may render ineffective the power to requisition
specialist equipment as provided by 21(3)(b).
2. Data Sharing
Clause 6 of the draft Bill allows regulations
to require the disclosure of data and ACPO has concerns that this
could include secret and/or confidential information. Care will
therefore need to be taken in drafting such regulations.
3. National Forum
ACPO has concerns that the lead govenment department
concept results in no one department having overall national responsibility
for emergency planning and response; the Civil Contingencies Secretariat
has a facilitating role rather than a directing role. Similarly,
although there will now be local and regional resilience forums,
ACPO believes that there is a role for a national resilience forum
with responsibility for strategic oversight of contingency planning,
involving government and those organisations designated as Category
1 responders at local level.
1. For some years there has been concern
among the emergency planning community about various aspects of
warning the public in the event of an emergency. In particular,
the issue of who should be responsible for warning the public
in the event of an emergency.
2. These concerns led to the formation,
with Home Office encouragement, of the National Steering Committee
for Warning and Informing the Public (NSCWIP) which has brought
together all the agencies with an interest in this area and concerned
with various aspects of emergency response. The work of the NSCWIP
is of great value in taking forward initiatives on warning and
informing the public and doing so with the involvement of all
interested agencies, rather than by one agency in isolation.
3. The NSCWIP is reviewing the problems
and issues surrounding the warning of the public in UK, and will
make proposals to Central Government through the Home Office.
4. More recently, there have been calls
for a Government statement clarifying roles and responsibilities
for alerting the public to emergencies. It was therefore agreed
that Home Office Emergency Planning (EPD) would convene a Working
Group to consider the issues and prepare a position statement
for agreement by Civil Contingencies Committee (Policy) on responsibilities
for alerting the public in the event of emergencies. The Working
Group would take into consideration the work of the NSCWIP who
are also considering similar issues. The members of the working
group are listed at Annex A.
5. The terms of reference of the group were
Identify the types of emergencies
that require alerts to be issued to the public.
Identify current and planned responsibilities
for issuing alerts, clarifying legislative requirements.
Identify any areas of concern with
current and planned arrangements, and make recommendations for
6. The group agreed that the draft position
statement should divide responsibilities for alerting the public
in England and Wales in the event of emergencies into three generic
groups. The group acknowledged that different administrative arrangements
exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland but the principles below
would be followed where possible.
Incidents at hazard sites covered by regulations
7. These are incidents at known hazard sites
where alerting systems are required by regulations eg sites covered
by COMAH and PIRER/REPPIR. Alerting responsibilities for these
sites should be sub-divided into two actions:
(a) deciding that an off-site alert needed
to be issued. This should be the responsibility of the site operator
who would be best placed to immediately assess the implications
of the incident; and
(b) arrangements for issuing the alert. The
type of alerting systems required should be agreed between the
site operator, local authority and emergency services as part
of the off-site emergency plan. The site operator should be responsible
for meeting all installation and maintenance costs of the alerting
Incidents where advance warning is likely
8. These are incidents where some advance
warning is likely eg flooding, severe weather, overseas nuclear
accidents, and satellite incidents. Alerting should be conducted
using existing arrangements under the responsibility of the Lead
Government Department or nominated agency.
Other incidents where advance warning is unlikely
9. This group includes spontaneous incidents,
those at locations where alerting systems are not required by
regulations and where advance warning is unlikely. Examples are
transport accidents, or incidents at premises not covered by regulations
such as COMAH and PIRER/REPPIR. For such incidents, alerting should
be the responsibility of emergency responders, probably the police
in most instances. Where possible pre-planned arrangements such
as local radio and television announcements should be used, but
ad-hoc arrangements such as loudhailers and door-to-door calling
may be necessary.
10. When the statement is approved by CCC(P),
Departments (and Agencies) will ensure the implementation of the
principles of the statement by their incorporation into all relevant
regulations and guidelines.