HC Deb 12 July 1999 vol 335 c9
5. Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)

What plans he has to review the control, role, responsibility and powers of non-Home Office police forces. [89214]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Paul Boateng)

None. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is not persuaded that a need for such a review has been demonstrated, but he is ready to consider, with colleagues, as appropriate, any particular areas of concern.

Mr. Mackinlay

I appreciate the fact that I was sent, unsolicited, the brief that my hon. Friend has used to reply to me this afternoon. I am grateful, because I have had time to appreciate how inadequate that brief is. Will he confirm that it does not tell us that, when we were in opposition, Labour Members supported an amendment that I tabled to the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill to give powers, in extremis, to British Transport, Ministry of Defence and Royal Parks constabulary police officers, when action is needed just outside their jurisdiction and no Metropolitan police officer is available, or when such an officer needs support? Will he further confirm that the brief does not tell us that the senior police officers of those forces and their representative organisations think that there should be a change?

My hon. Friend's predecessor, now Secretary of State for Wales, was clued up to the issue. Will my hon. Friend tell his officials that it needs to be reconsidered, because within a stone's throw of here there are officers who have no more powers of arrest than you or I, Madam Speaker, and that situation puts them in jeopardy? Will he return the brief and give those officials two out of 10?

Mr. Boateng

My hon. Friend makes his point with characteristic force. He brings an unprecedented historical knowledge to the role of the non-Home Office forces and I shall certainly take into account what he says. If he has any particular points that he would like to bring home to me in the privacy of my office, he is more than welcome to attend there.

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