HC Deb 21 May 1999 vol 331 cc464-5W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what powers are available to Ministry of Defence police(a) to search civilian property, (b) to interrogate civilians and (c) to lay charges against individuals; from what legal authority officers of the MoD police derive their powers; what remedy is open to civilians who believe they have been subject to ill-treatment or abuse by MoD police officers; how many complaints have been made against MoD police in each of the past five years; and what were the results of such complaints. [84783]

Mr. Doug Henderson

[holding answer 20 May 1999]Ministry of Defence Police officers derive their constabulary powers from the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987. MOD Police officers have the same powers as their Home Department Police colleagues to search civilian property, interview civilians and lay charges against individuals, in respect of matters that come within their jurisdiction as defined in the 1987 Act. The MOD Police are subject to comprehensive disciplinary procedures, overseen by the Police Complaints Authority in the case of complaints made by members of the public.

Details of complaints made against MOD Police are shown in the table:

A sub-committee has been set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers to consider the police response to the criminal use of firearms. The National Intelligence Service is compiling a strategic threat assessment of the firearms situation in England and Wales. An Interdepartmental Committee on Small Arms Policy has been created to ensure the structured co-ordination of all Government Departments concerned with the legal and illegal movement of firearms.

The Firearms Consultative Committee has been asked to consider as part of its current work programme what measures can be taken to reduce the illegal possession and use of firearms. Work is also continuing at international level to address the problems of the illicit manufacture and trafficking of firearms, notably through a Protocol to the proposed United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.

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