Examination of Witnesses (Questions 640
TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2001
640. That would be on a higher pay scale?
(Mr Cullen) If you are requested by the Home Office
force mutually to assist them, obviously you do whatever task
they ask you to do.
641. Why did they feel they needed you to come
in? Was it because of your expertise or purely manpower?
(Mr Trickey) Lack of manpower.
(Mr Cullen) Lack of manpower and also they know we
are highly trained as well.
642. You are on a par with them, as we have
(Mr Trickey) To answer your question, yes it would,
as far as we are led to believe, because it was a policy decision
made by the force which the Federation does not have any say in.
The general assumption is that it was through lack of manpower
that they could not cope.
643. That would come through from individual
police forces or the Home Office?
(Mr Trickey) That came direct from the Home Office.
Other local ones would probably come from the area chief constable.
644. The Home Office can ask the MoD Police
to come in and help them out if they have not enough manpower?
(Mr Trickey) In that, I think the government of the
day considered it a national emergency, so yes, but generally
speaking it would be left to the local chief constable if there
was such a problem where he required assistance.
645. If you were asked, there would be no way
that the MDP could refuse?
(Mr Trickey) If we had other operational exigencies,
yes, we could refuse.
646. You could say you did not have enough manpower?
(Mr Cullen) Obviously you have to prioritise and your
own commitments have to come first.
(Mr Trickey) Generally speaking, I do not think there
would be many incidents where we would actually refuse any assistance
to another force.
647. In your experience, have there been any
other times in recent periods when your officers have been called
upon in such a major way to help out the Home Office?
(Mr Trickey) The recent refitting of one of the Trident
submarines at Barrow, but that was a security matter which we
are not privy to.
648. That would be MoD property.
(Mr Trickey) That was a Vickers yard but because we
have a marine section and many of the Home Office constabularies
do not have that expertise there was a request for us to provide
boats from Coalport Faslane to protect the shore line and to protect
649. I can see your expertise where you probably
might even have the upper hand on escorting duties, because a
large part of your duties would involve escorting sensitive convoys;
but you were also potentially being called in for crowd control
at a civilian location?
(Mr Cullen) Yes.
650. By the Home Office?
(Mr Trickey) Yes, if they deemed it, as they did the
petrol crisis, as a national emergency and I would imagine the
Home Office have primacy to order us in as a civilian police force.
651. I do not know whether you are able to tell
us but I do wonder whether, for instance, you were ever called
upon during the 1984-85 miners' strikes?
(Mr Trickey) I believe some of them were.
(Mr Cullen) During that time the MoD had a major problem
at Greenham Common so most of our resources were channelled in
(Mr Trickey) There were a couple of PSUs who did go
up there. We did lend mutual aid to them.
652. That was presumably through the Home Office?
(Mr Trickey) Yes, I would assume so, however I was
not in office.
653. You are going to give us some further written
evidence. Perhaps you could clarify whether there have been other
occasions where the government have considered it was a sufficient
national emergency that they looked for the MoD Police force to
assist them along with others.
(Mr Trickey) I will research that. I will have to
go through my force headquarters to do that.
654. Are there any occasions to your knowledge
where Armed Services personnel may be asked to don police uniforms
and assist yourselves?
(Mr Trickey) They would be acting totally unconstitutionally
if they donned a police uniform.
655. To your knowledge, has that ever been necessary?
(Mr Trickey) Not to my knowledge.
656. If you were called upon, can you call the
other way around if the boot is on the other foot? You can call
upon the local police to help you?
(Mr Trickey) Yes. The prime example, as Mr Cullen
said earlier, was Greenham Common and Molesworth. They were both
joint exercises. On one, we policed it for two years before anybody
in our force came in on detached duties and we had to. Because
of the ferocity of it, we had to go to Thames Valley and ask them
for mutual aid.
657. I appreciate Greenham Common is not relevant
today but if for some reason there were huge demonstrations outside
the MoDsay we had decided to bomb some friendly power and
this was not too popular with the populaceyou would be
seriously stretched as a force, presumably. It is an unlikely
scenario so I would not expect you to have the force but you might
have a problem with that?
(Mr Cullen) That would be a joint operation with the
658. How is recruitment and retention in the
(Mr Trickey) In certain areas, we have the same difficulties
as the Home Office forces do. We are running three courses this
year for recruits of 20 each, as far as I am aware. We have no
problem attracting recruits to the MoD, but we do have a problem
like the Home Office in the Metropolitan Police area and also
in the Thames Valley area to retain them because of the high cost
of living and other factors.
659. You have London Weighting, presumably?
(Mr Trickey) Officers in London would have London
Weighting. Many of the officers pre-1994 do not receive housing
or renting allowance.