I think that I was pretty quick there, Mr. Gale.
The clause includes the chief constable of the British Transport police under ``chief officer of police''. The Armed Forces Bill, which is being considered by a Select Committee, will extend to the Ministry of Defence police the same powers and jurisdiction as the regular constabulary. It is proposed that the 3,500 MOD police will have jurisdiction over civilian, and not just military law, matters. They will be accountable to the Secretary of State for Defence, and not to any police authority, even with that enhanced role. Their powers will be national, whereas those of the regular constabulary in England and Wales are, to an extent, local.
If the Government intend thus to widen the role of the MOD police, will the definition ``chief officer of police'' include the MOD police, given that the authorised constables under clause 2(5) who will be able to hand out fixed penalty notices are ``authorised, on behalf of the chief officer of police for the area in which the police station is situated, to give penalty notices''?
If this Bill and the Armed Forces Bill become law, is it envisaged that the MOD police will have powers not only to deal with civilians in general but to serve them with fixed penalty notices?