Examination of Witnesses (Questions 340
TUESDAY 23 JANUARY 2001
340. Perhaps you could examine that. Secondly,
if an MDP officer, whether he is armed or not, stops in order
to carry out something that is his duty, as this Bill envisages
he may want to carry it out, how will he identify himself as being
a member of the Ministry of Defence Police? How will he do that
to the public? What do you believe the consequence of that might
(Mr Miller) The clause actually says that either he
is responding to a request from a policeman or, if he is doing
so on reasonable grounds, etcetera, when there is no civil policeman
available, then he must either be in uniform or carry evidence
or possess evidence that he is a member of the Ministry of Defence
341. That is not quite what I asked. Will he
actually announce himself to civilians, if he stops on the roadside
and sees something occurring? Will he actually announce himself
as a Ministry of Defence policeman as opposed to a civil force
policeman or a Metropolitan Police officer or whatever?
(Mr Crowther) I think that would depend upon the circumstances
of the occasion, and how much time he had available in order to
do so. In most circumstances, he would certainly be in uniform.
342. As to the uniform, as we all know, between
an MDP policeman and a Home Office policeman, I am not sure that
we would all recognise that in a dark, badly-lit rural area in
the middle of Herefordshire or wherever. Lastly, you mentioned
communication problems. Are you absolutely convinced that the
communication of vehicles, either already travelling, or proposed
to be travelling, between bases, will be such that those vehicles
will be able to communicate effectively with the Home Office force?
I have to tell you that in deeply rural areas already vehicles
of the same police force sometimes find it very difficult to communicate
with each other.
(Mr Crowther) I can only say that I have travelled
with an area policing team of the Ministry of Defence Police at
Aldershot in their vehicle and have seen for myself that they
were on net with the local Home Department constabulary.
343. So you do not envisage any communications
problems at all between MDP vehicles and Home Department police
vehicles operating in the same area?
(Mr Crowther) I think the situation will be greatly
improved when the PSRCS system is in place, but there is sufficient
radio communication at present, and they use it on a frequent
Chairman: Thank you. As it is now 12.57,
can I suggest that we adjourn the Committee's proceedings at this
point. There will be the opportunity to pursue further questions
on Clause 31 and, indeed, Clause 32 and the subsequent clauses.
344. This will also have the additional advantage
that Mr Crowther might be able to recall some of the incidences
that have given rise to the conclusion that the present powers
(Mr Crowther) Madam Chairman, might I add a further
sentence on that point. I can myself recall a fairly significant
number of occasions when MDP officers have got themselves into
difficulties in these circumstances. My diffidence arose only
from not wishing to put on record details where my memory might
be imperfect, so I think it would be much easier if we produced
a note on this.
Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr Crowther,
that is on the record. We will look forward to continuing our
investigation of this matter on Thursday morning. The public meeting
will reconvene at 10.30 am on Thursday. Thank you very much indeed
for your presence this morning.
6 See Appendix 6. Back