Examination of Witnesses (Questions 300
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
300. Do they feel more confident about it? Has
it changed the morale?
(Mr Clarke) Most certainly they do. We were asked
by yourselves to make sure that instructions were given to the
force on that legislation, that happened straightaway in terms
of briefing all officers of what their extended jurisdiction was.
We also gave an undertaking to work very quickly on the protocol
with home department forces. We were very quick out of the blocks
with correspondence between ourselves and the Home Office. We
had a draft to the Home Office before Christmas. That is under
discussion with ACPO through John Giffard, the Chief Constable
of Staffordshire. I was speaking with him yesterday, and we are
well ahead of the game in terms of that protocol.
301. There has been extensive progress on protocols
with local police forces?
(Mr Clarke) When I say extensive, we negotiate those
formally through ACPO, John Giffard is the Chief Constable with
that responsibility. I was speaking with him yesterday, he is
very happy with the proposals that we have given and he has to
consult that with other chief constables. I am very pleased with
the progress that we have made in that regard.
302. Earlier you mentioned the stability of
MDP manning levels, what are the implications of the Act for manning
levels? The increased powers within the Act do they just coincidentally
fill the numbers that the MDP have. It is odd that despite the
fact there is a change in powers and responsibilities you say
that the MDP figures will remain the same for three years?
(Mr Clarke) The reality was that we were seeking a
change in jurisdiction for MDP to plug a gap, not for us to be
able to extend our operating role and responsibility. There is
no intention whatsoever for us to extend our operations, this
is not mission creep, if you like, by MDP, therefore the additional
powers were sought long before 11 September to plug what we saw
as gaps. Of course we only took forward proposals which had been
in the Armed Forces Bill post 11 September. That is why I am so
sure that it is not going to lead, simply because we have no powers,
to the need for more resources.
303. I understand that the Committee heard about
the force complement review at Aldermaston, when will that be
(Mr Clarke) Quite frankly I am not sure. I know we
are looking at the establishment and the complement at Aldermaston.
That is for two reasons, one is in terms of our management. At
the moment we treat Aldermaston and Burghfield as two separate
sites and the MDP management control is two separate locations.
We are looking to amalgamate that. It is not done in respect of
cost saving, it is about the roles of MDP officers. That is going
on, correctly so, with the management at the establishment and
I would expectI do not know whether it will be the next
month or two monthsproposals. Again, the object of the
exercise is constantly looking at the role, how MDP officers are
deployed, is that the best way, is that the best use of MDP officers
and is it best use of complementary security and guarding operatives
at those establishments?
Chairman: It would be good if we could
have a look at that, please?
304. We visited Aldermaston last week and we
were surprised to hear about the problems that were being encountered
by the MDP, especially in relation to
Some of the members were lucky enough to watch,
or unlucky enough to be able to watch, a video of *** climbing
the fence. We were very surprised to hear that once *** was in
that the forces were very frustrated by the lack of procedures
they could carry forward in regard to legislation. I have a couple
of points on that, what are the MDP doing to rectify those problems
at Aldermaston? Is it, (a) Aldermaston or is it, (b) Aldermaston
and everywhere else? Is there a need to bring forward further
legislation, for example one idea that was brought up last week
was, is there a need to actually specify the name of a site, that
we need to bring forward some sort of different trespass law?
Is there any other legislation that needs to be brought forward,
for example, to increase MDP powers in general?
(Ms Craig) I will answer that. What has happened at
AWE is that the MDP drew my attention to this several months ago
and we held a meeting to consider what to do and as a result of
that the defence estates experts went off to look at what could
be done. The problem at AWE is that for historical reasons not
all of the land within the boundaries is owned or leased by the
Secretary of State, some of it is owned by West Berkshire Council,
some belongs to private land owners. Our Defence Estates experts
have for the last six months been working very hard to try and
rectify that, they have been discussing with the local council
and with the private landowners transferring these packages of
land so that it becomes a much neater matter. They have made good
progress. We are hopeful it will be completed by March, we cannot
promise that it will be, because all of this depends on the willingness
of the private land owners to co-operate but we are hoping that
will be done by the end of March. Once it is done we will then
be able to look at whether we need new bye-laws for AWE or not.
It should also make it easier to bring injunctions against persistent
trespassers once those boundaries issues have been clarified.
On the more general question, this has not been a general problem
for the MoD, really Aldermaston has been the main place at issue.
But we have decided that we ought to do a review of whether we
need primary legislation to cover defence lands. The main reason
is that at the moment the situation of setting bylaws is governed
by the Military Lands Act of 1892 and 1900, which are getting
a bit long in the tooth, and they do not sit easily with modern
methods of procurement and management of MoD land, such as, Public
Private Partnerships and Private Finance Initiatives and contracting
out. We have begun to find there are problems and we need to look
at whether we ought to introduce primary legislation.
305. Surely it is a general problem if the problem
is caused. I know in Aldermaston we have this dispute about land,
where that person trespasses, providing they are not trying to
vandalise the place then surely that is a general problem to every
type of MoD site?
(Mr Clarke) If I may come in, you right, if people
do not commit a criminal offence the question you really ask is,
is it a criminal trespass, it is not a criminal trespass. As we
stand at the moment there are two separate remedies, the first
remedy is by the use of the bylaws and we see that in the bylaws
the primary legislation in it, the enabling legislation is very
long in the tooth and therefore those bylaws have been questioned.
This is the frustration, if you like, in respect of Aldermaston,
we are not able to take prosecution using those bylaws. The second
remedy that we would have is in respect of injunctions, to injunct
the individual to prevent them going into the premises, that is
where we have had the problem in respect of ownership of the land.
There are two options, this has not been aired previously, what
you are asking is if they do not commit criminal damage, if they
are not a terrorist threat what do we do with these individuals.
I do not believe that MDP need any other legislation. I think
it was certainly right we were not seeking anything under the
306. That is not the view of your men, they
were very unhappy. It is absurd to have a situation where the
only remedy is an injunction. If you then have lots *** who have
not done it before and they are caught in the middle of a facility
and there is then no power to reprimand and prosecute those people
then this is a licence to these people to come in and muck up
the system. Secondly, of course, it makes it very difficult for
your men to distinguish between these nuisances and the terrorists?
(Mr Clarke) Absolutely. I am not minimising anything
that is happening. I am very, very seized with the issues of staff
hence why this has been raised with DGS&S. The options are
to make sure we have bylaws we can apply, because we have not
at the moment, to make sure we have the land in terms of injunctions
and the third option might be, for argument's sake, if there was
the criminal offence of trespass on MoD land similar to criminal
practice on railways. We have not sought that legislation but
let us get the first part of it right in respect of the land and
in respect of the bylaws. I agree that it really very frustrating
for officers on that establishment with what they are having to
deal with day in and day out.
307. Surely it would be most advantageous if
there was legislation and it said you should not trespass on Aldermaston,
and name them, or more generally on MoD land. You specifically
named where there had to be a difference because of national security
then surely that would deter them?
(Mr Clarke) I do accept that is an option for it to
be criminal trespass on a specific site or MoD land.
(Ms Craig) We will be looking at this.
Chairman: We have flogged this. Mr Roy,
I am not sure whether I misheard, I am not sure where you referred
Mr Roy: I said ***.
Chairman: We will look very carefully
at that. One more question.
308. We are due to come on a bit later, I do
not know whether we will, to the responses to the aftermath of
the attacks. I am interested in what you are doing on a regular
routine basis to test the defences of MoD sites to people trespassing
or trying to do rather more serious things than that? For instance,
we have been told about the exercises that are undertaken at Aldermaston,
how often are such exercises conducted at other MoD sites?
(Mr Cochrane) Are we talking now about exercises to
counter terrorist incidents?
309. Maintain the general security of the site.
(Mr Cochrane) Before 11 September there was a regime
in place and the nature of those exercises has been expanded to
take account of the new threat. As an indication, normally speaking,
they take place and every unit is required to conduct such an
exercise at least once a year. This is not just a fact, it has
been conducted13. Over and above that in the case of the Army
there is the practice of a "no notice test exercise"
being conducted at a regional level twice a year, whereby units
will be identified at short notice and will be required to respond
to a simulated incident of this sort. Over and above that the
head of the establishment concerned carries the responsibility
for ensuring that the plan that is in place works and is effective
and it down to him or her to determine how frequently that needs
to be tested.
310. Am I right to say that you are suggesting
that post 11 September there could be, if somebody feels that
more than just an annual test exercise needs to be carried out
that that will be possible?
(Mr Cochrane) Absolutely.
13 Note from Witness: Inspections confirm
that exercises have not just been held, but effectively conducted.
(Mr Cochrane) Generally speaking the
guidance will say this is the minimum that should be done but
the person carries the responsibility for ownership of that site
and it is down to him or her to determine how much more frequently
they need tests or what additional measures might be appropriate
in those local circumstances.
312. Some of those tests involve the MDP and
the Armed Forces?
(Mr Cochrane) Yes, they would, the resources at that
particular site, yes. It would very possibly involve action with
the local police in terms of reporting to them or liaising with
them whatever the plans concerned involve.
Rachel Squire: Thank you. I think Mr
Clarke has already dealt with additional training following the
legislation coming into force on 14 December.
313. Thank you so much. We almost beat the longest
session of the Committee, I did not want to inflict that on you,
Baroness Symons has the record. It was very, very interesting
and it raises all sorts of issues. You have not heard the last
of us, we have a number of additional questions to ask, I am sorry.
(Ms Craig) I have 10!
Chairman: At least 10. Thank you all
and your colleagues behind for providing a very interesting and
very relevant addition to our research and our inquiry. Thank
you very much.
14 See Appendix 1 p 63. Back