Select Committee on Armed Forces Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 660 - 671)



  660. Do you have a migration from the MoD Police to other police forces or the other way around?
  (Mr Cullen) Yes, and to emphasise the point on training we have had officers in recent years go straight from the MDP into Home Office forces, taking up their duties straight away without any further training.

  661. Would you say that you are more likely if you are in MDP to go to one of the local forces or is it a two way thing?
  (Mr Cullen) It is a two way thing.

  662. If you have your powers extended, it might make the MDP more attractive, might it not?
  (Mr Trickey) It is a feasibility, yes.

  663. They might not feel that they were regarded in some quarters as slightly infantry, not the cavalry?
  (Mr Trickey) I think that perception has gone now. With all due credit to our former Chief Constable, Mr Boreham, he brought this force up from the depths to a very high pinnacle of professionalism. For that, we are grateful to him. That has been recognised now because we have sitting members on ACPO which we never had before. The MoD plod is dead. We are a professional force that acts in a professional manner and we are very proud of it.

Mr Clelland

  664. Do your trainees come from generally across the board or do you have a preponderance of military personnel?
  (Mr Trickey) When I was a trainer in 1984-85, we used to get a cross section. Now you find that you can put an advert in three or four papers and you will get 2,000 applicants from right across the board, from Scotland as well as England and Wales.


  665. All ages?
  (Mr Trickey) Yes.

  666. Coming back on the training issue, is there a secondment arrangement between the Home Office Police and MoD Police?
  (Mr Trickey) Yes.

  667. You can both spend time with the other force?
  (Mr Trickey) Yes. That is in practice at the present time.
  (Mr Cullen) That will ease the problem under new legislation because you will go from one force to the other and you will be acting legally; whereas now, if you get seconded to another force, you have to get sworn in to act with that force.

  668. On the issue of firearms, I know we have had clear evidence that normally the MoD Police, when they are outwith MoD premises, would not be armed and if guns and ammunition were being transported they would be kept separate and so on. However, there are circumstances which are considered highly sensitive. For instance, moving some missiles or nuclear material from one part of the country to the other. Firstly, am I right that in those circumstances MoD policemen would be armed? Secondly, if during that armed convoy process an incident occurred that your officers felt they had to stop and deal with, and they used their firearms, what could the consequences be?
  (Mr Trickey) They would not be allowed to use their firearms unless the convoy came under direct attack. They would carry them in the vehicles and they would be discreetly detached. There are occasions, as we have said before, when you carry firearms but not out with the general public. Any patrol does not generally carry firearms. The only time that they would be transported is if you are going to the ranges to shoot, if you have to go off base. You are quite correct in the assumption that rifles and pistols would be carried in one vehicle and all the ammunition would be carried in another one. As for the escorts, they would be armed routinely because that is part and parcel of the remit, but they are trained to respond to an attack, not to deal with anything else. They would not necessarily stop if they saw a bank raid. Their primary task is to go from A to B in the quickest time.

Mr Randall

  669. Even an armed bank raid?
  (Mr Trickey) Even an armed bank raid. I would doubt it very much if they would stop because of the sensitivity of what they are carrying.


  670. In that circumstance, they would call on the local police force?
  (Mr Trickey) They have a local police force in attendance with them as well. There is usually a car with them.

  671. Is there anything further you would like to add?
  (Mr Trickey) Thank you very much for inviting us to give evidence. It is appreciated. It is not very often we get the chance. Just to clear up a small ambiguity, there was one thing that we read in the paper where people were querying who we were responsible to. I know it is a very big issue. Any one of the officers in the force is responsible directly in law and also to the Chief Constable so if they do anything wrong there are disciplinary measures in place to deal with them in house. If they commit a crime, they will be dealt with by the courts. We are not above the law; we are not seeking to be above the law. All we are looking for is protection by the law for my officers in the force by this extension. Thank you.

  Chairman: Thank you very much indeed for a very full evidence session. I now adjourn the Committee and we will meet again next Tuesday, 6 February. I look forward to seeing Committee Members on Thursday as we travel to Colchester.

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