Examination of Witnesses (Questions 520
WEDNESDAY 16 JULY 2008
Rt Hon Tony McNulty MP and Mr Peter Storr
Q520 Lord Teverson:
I would agree with that absolutely. Are those mainly UK considerations?
Mr McNulty: They are principally UK considerations
and the notion of stepping out from being a serving police officer.
Q521 Lord Teverson:
I get the impression informally from a couple of places that there
is certainly dissatisfaction about SOCA's performance as the intermediary.
Do you have any feeling about that or is the Home Office trying
to do anything about that?
Mr McNulty: I do not get a sense of unhappiness
about it. That certainly has not been relayed to me or colleagues
from Council meetings. I would always look for that to improve.
Q522 Lord Teverson:
I meant more maybe from within the United Kingdom and other areas
that may have to work through SOCA.
Mr McNulty: There were certainly some
concerns expressed by colleagues in ACPO about SOCA and then,
as is the way with these things, from colleagues in SOCA about
ACPO. I have held a series of meetings with Vernon Coaker, as
I have said, who largely looks after SOCA, firstly with ACPO to
talk about SOCA and then with SOCA to talk about ACPO and then
with both of them to try and see what the measure of it was. I
think they have just about finalised a sort of working protocol
and understanding between the two as to quite where particularly
level two and level three crimes stop and start in terms of their
operational competence in the UK and by inference SOCA acting
as a conduit with Europol. I think we are in a happier place now
than we were.
Q523 Lord Dear:
I was going to make an observation rather than put a question
about the problems of getting the right peoplegood peopleto
go to agencies like SOCA and particularly to Europol. I think
it is not only to do with pensions; it is it do with the whole
culture of the organisation, which sadly has been deeply rooted
in the police service, and maybe other agencies as well, over
the years that when you go away, you are out of sight and out
of mind for three years or five years, or whatever, and when you
come back you have to learn to do the job again and prove yourself
again, and of course that is a huge disincentive. One of the few
ways I would say in my experience you can get over that in part
is to send somebody there on promotion. They got something out
of it when they went; they come back having held that rank which
they might have got had they remained at home. It is a simple
device but it is a cultural thing. How you get chief constables
and others to face up to it is difficult.
Mr McNulty: We are doing it in part by
the sort of limited proliferation of other bodies and other potentials
for secondment. There is an increasing exchange between the Home
Office and serving police officers in the general sense with NPIA,
with SOCA, with some of these other organisations. I think with
the newer generation of chief constables, less so human resource
directors, they are positively encouraging that so that their
people do get a wealth of experience potentially for short bursts
across a whole range of areas rather than 30 years in one place
attitude. I think it is changing.
Mr Storr: Perhaps I could add that I
think as the committee knows the United Kingdom will be fielding
a candidate for Director of Europol during the course of this
Chairman: Thank you for that. If colleagues
have nothing further, Minister, thank you for coming and for being
a good deal briefer than some of our witnesses are. We appreciate
that. This is our final evidence session and we shall be starting
to put together a report during the summer recess, which we shall
be looking at soon after we come back in October. We are hoping
to produce a report and publish it before the end of the session,
which now looks as though it so going to be the end of November.
It has been most helpful for you to come and wind up our evidence
sessions. We appreciate that. Mr Storr, thank you for coming again
to see us.