Examination of Witnesses (Questions 580
TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2001
580. Does there have to be a certain level of
offence for a citizen's arrest?
(Mr Cullen) You have to see the incident taking place.
As a police officer, if an incident is reported to you that someone
has allegedly carried out an offence, you have the power to deal
with it. As a citizen you do not.
581. That could rebound on you in court. If
someone says, "Did you see it happen?", and you say,
"No, five people told me they had seen it", then your
officers could be in trouble.
(Mr Cullen) Yes, absolutely.
582. Do you think that your members have difficulty
in understanding what is meant by `in the vicinity of'?
(Mr Trickey) No, not at all.
583. How do you understand `in the vicinity
(Mr Trickey) `In the vicinity of', can be anything
from five inches to 500 yards to five miles. That was tested in
a court case and the judge said that `vicinity' means the appliance
of common sense and that common sense should rule.
584. I am not altogether sure that common sense
would always apply.
(Mr Trickey) As far as my members and
my officers are concerned it would apply.
585. I was thinking of the courts rather than
your members. I take the point that it could be five yards or
500 miles, but then it means that `in the vicinity of' can mean
anything that you want it to mean.
(Mr Trickey) No, we do not take it as
that. Basically, `in the vicinity of' could mean 15 miles in pursuance
of government stores, or things to do with government stores.
Under the old force, when we had 5,000 officers, if you put every
MoD establishment together, they would cover the length and breadth
of England, so `in the vicinity of' would refer to that.
(Mr Cullen) These new powers seek to
take away the ambiguity. If we have the powers, we will know that
when we come across something we can deal with it as police officers.
586. I appreciate that. I am wondering what
is the necessity for the words `in the vicinity of'. In theory,
you could draft this to say `in the pursuance of MoD property'
or whatever. As you say the words `in the vicinity of' can mean
whatever, so there is little point in having them there.
(Mr Cullen) Here we are talking about
coming across an incident en route from one location to another.
You may be 30 miles away from your parent station. If you come
across something you need the power to be able to deal with it.
(Mr Trickey) It would be nice not to
have the words `in the vicinity of' because it is restrictive.
587. I am wondering about that. I think that
could be argued by lawyers.
(Mr Trickey) Yes. We would appreciate
the word `vicinity' being removed.
588. What would you like instead? You just want
it to establish what your role would be.
(Mr Trickey) Yes. I also agree with the
ACPOS witness who said that the Protocols should be set by our
force, the other force and the chief constable and that the Protocols
should set out in black and white exactly where we should be and
what we should do.
589. Following up on that, is there a problem
with defining what `coming across an incident' would mean or is
that dealt with in the Protocol between the Ministry of Defence
police and the local civilian force? Do you think that there is
any suggestion or that it is right in any way to be concerned
that members of the MoD police may decide that they wanted to
come across an incident that they could deal with or follow up?
(Mr Cullen) No.
(Mr Trickey) Hopefully, as Tom has said, no. At the
end of the day that is not what we are out there for. We are not
out there to take jobs off the Home Office police in any shape
or form. We have enough crime on our own properties. I can give
you an example. The perception of the public is that they see
a police officer in a police car and they do not necessarily want
to know what is on his collar or his tabs. Recently in Hereford,
two of our officers were stopped by a member of the public at
traffic lights who told them that the man in front was as drunk
as a skunk. Technically speaking, they have no jurisdiction in
such a situation. However, seeing that the man is slumped over
the wheel they have a moral obligation as the overriding principle
of police officers is the protection of life. So they both got
out of the car. The second man radioed West Mercia for assistance
and they were told to carry on. The other officer went up to the
car, tapped on the window and the man looked up. The officer identified
himself as a police officer and the man in the car opened the
door, hit the police officer and ran off. We are trying to protect
that officer because at the end of the day his jurisdiction is
absolutely nil but the public expect you to do something.
590. I do not think I am breaching any confidence
by saying this. That incident is one that was put to us by Mr
Crowther in a paper that is among our briefing papers. Is that
paper to be made a public document? I hope so. You may have seen
(Mr Trickey) I have seen it in the capacity as national
chairman on the disciplinary side. As soon as anything like that
happens, our force has to justify whether the officer acted correctly,
so they are accountable. Both officers were initially given what
we call a regulation seven, which is a notice of investigation
to see whether they have acted properly and in accordance with
the regulations. I had both of those papers before me. That is
my recollection. I have not seen Mr Crowther's paper.
591. I asked him to produce the paper and he
did, and I read it last night. I think that you and Mr Cullen
will be happy with it when you see the full text. Did you have
a chance to hear the evidence that we have just heard from Mr
(Mr Trickey) Yes.
(Mr Cullen) Yes.
592. What did you think of the views expressed
about the Ministry of Defence police possibly having inappropriate
training or behaving inappropriately and the doubts that he had
about the way in which they handle firearms and the doubts that
he expressed about you investigating offences? Do you have any
reaction to that?
(Mr Cullen) The first point is that the training of
the Ministry of Defence police is identical to that of the Home
Office police. There seems to be a rumour going around that our
training is not up to the standard of the Home Office training.
593. There has been some concrete testimony
(Mr Cullen) In England and Wales all our trainers
attend the national police training at Harrogate, where they receive
the trainer's certificate and they go to the equivalent trainers'
course at the Scottish college. In addition, all MDP training
managers, as well as a number of trainers are required to complete
the training development officer course, and obtain the relevant
NVQ qualification. The training is identical. All of our CID officers
go to Home Office training centres and our trainers at Wethersfield
train the Home Office forces as well. So the training is on a
594. You reject that particular view?
(Mr Cullen) Yes, we do.
(Mr Trickey) In relation to firearms, as you are well
aware, there are only two forces that are routinely firearms trained
to the same extent as the Ministry of Defence and that is the
MDP and the RUC. The Ministry of Defence rigorously follow ACPO
guidelines and ACPOS guidelines in the carrying and the use of
firearms for every single officer.
595. The suggestion that you may not be able
to handle firearms properly was a little patronising.
(Mr Trickey) Yes.
596. The suggestion has been made, not just
by Mr McKerracher, but also by Sir Roy Cameron, that the powers
of civilian arrest may not be satisfactory. You have already dealt
with that in answer to my colleague this morning.
(Mr Trickey) Yes.
597. What causes this snooty attitude from some
parts of the civilian police about the Ministry of Defence police?
Is there a degree of professional jealousy or territorial rivalry?
(Mr Trickey) I think professional jealousy is going
too far. When we come down to the basics, I think that we complement
each other. The MDP and ACPOS work very well together at all times.
Occasionally, we have little rifts, but if you wanted a broader
view, I think protectionism is one point and the fact that some
are ill-informed and do not really understand what the MoD police
do. I can well understand the England and Wales federation being
protectionist towards their own officers in some respects, but
we are not asking to take jobs off them; all we are asking for
is the protection of the officers of the force so that they can
act in a legal manner. ACPOS reiterated that stance.
(Mr Cullen) In one breath they say that our training
is not up to standard yet, but that does not stop them calling
for our assistance on average 3,000 times a year to respond to
incidents because they cannot respond immediately.
598. Protectionism is a natural instinct. Ignorance
on the part of the Home Office police about the way that the Ministry
of Defence police work, when you have worked alongside each other
for generations, as far as I knowthere are 3,000 of you
which is quite a large forceis a more serious charge. Why
do you think that is?
(Mr Trickey) We were always affectionately known as
the `MoD Plod' many years ago. I think the problem lies with senior
management level rather than at the grass roots level. I think
ACPOS put it quite accurately in that at Faslane we deal with
matters well, we work well and we harmonise well together. We
do not have a problem with that. Some of the senior officers appear
to miss the plot somewhere along the line.
599. Perhaps it is a cultural thing, as there
used to be in the Army when some regiments looked down on others.
(Mr Trickey) Possibly. If you can remember back to
1964, there was a lot of problems with ACPO about the changing
of the boundaries of the police. They experienced a lot of problems,
as I have said, in Somerset, where I could not follow up a case
in Devon or Cornwall. They only had citizen's arrest powers. ACPO
at that time was very vociferous in changing the boundaries.
1 Note from witness: I meant broadly what I
have outlined: that common sense and circumstance should dictate. Back