HC Deb 01 April 1996 vol 275 cc37-8W
Mr. Alexander

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about defence agency status for the Ministry of Defence police. [24413]

Mr. Soames

The Ministry of Defence police is to be established as an agency of the Ministry of Defence on 1 April 1996.

The MDP is a fully constituted police force acting under the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987. The headquarters and police and guard service training schools are at Wethersfield in the county of Essex. Detachments are employed throughout the United Kingdom, based primarily at Ministry of Defence establishments.

The MDP provides a civil policing service where required throughout the Ministry of Defence. It also provides a security service, including armed guarding at important defence installations. Its activities cover the protection of life, prevention of crime, detection of offenders, and the maintenance of order on, or in connection with, defence property and personnel. In its policing role it operates entirely independently of political or departmental influence in the maintenance and operation of the law.

As the first chief executive, the chief constable, Mr. W. E. E. Boreham OBE, will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. Through the greater delegations and authority afforded by agency status, the chief constable will actively seek to improve the efficiency and value for money of his police force.

The chief constable has been set the following key targets for the first year of operation:

  1. (1) By 1 April 1997 to have identified and implemented agreed performance measures of force activity.
  2. (2) To improve significantly upon the baseline achieved in the first customer satisfaction survey.
  3. (3) By 1 October 1996 to make proposals for funding arrangements for national, additional, or cross top-level budget boundary commitments.
  4. (4) By 1 July 1996 to complete the evaluation of the effectiveness of the new force structure introduced from 1 April 1995.
  5. (5) To achieve efficiency savings prescribed within the departmental management and efficiency plans.
  6. (6) To develop efficiency measurement systems in order to provide a coherent efficiency plan incorporating a detailed competing for quality programme and be innovative in the identification of opportunities afforded by co-operation with industry.


  1. (a) To set up agreed mechanisms for medium to long-term manpower planning.
  2. (b) To implement the information systems strategy to time, quality and specification.

The owner of the Ministry of Defence Police agency will be the second permanent under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence.

The chief constable will produce an annual report which, for financial year 1997–98, will contain accruals-based accounts. These will be presented to Parliament. I have also arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of the House.

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