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The funding MoD Police receives has to be based on the threat, not what the Government can get away with cutting.
That is the view of Stewart McDonald MP, the SNP’s defence spokesperson who sponsored the Defence Police Federation’s reception at Parliament on 5 December. Representatives from the DPF went to the Houses of Parliament to meet MPs and talk to them about the challenges facing the force.
Chairman Eamon Keating told MPs that the Ministry of Defence Police is a unique and much-needed workforce, but that his officers are the lowest paid in the country with the highest retirement age.
Mr McDonald said it was important to acknowledge the work of the MoD Police and the Defence Police Federation in supporting its officers.
He said: “The MoD police obviously do an incredibly important job – a job that most people understand needs doing but they don’t really understand who does it. I thought it was important to acknowledge the work that they do, and to acknowledge that they put themselves in harm’s way to keep not just assets but people safe.
“Politicians need to better understand what it is the Defence Police do – that’s crucial and it’s obvious that there is a lack of understanding among politicians about what they do.
“While we understand that finances are tight – tighter than they have been previously – the funding they receive has to be based on the threat not what they can get away with cutting.
“Crucially, the MoD Police need to have the resources – cash and other resources – in order to carry on the function which is to keep assets safe that are of critical importance to the country and in turn keep people safe as well.”
Tobias Ellwood MP, the Government’s Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said the reception was an opportunity for MPs to understand a little bit more about what the MoD Police do.
He added: “It’s very important on occasions like this for MPs to say thank you for the protection that they provide and for the work that they do. Huge tributes for the work that they do and I’m so pleased that they were able to come here to the House of Commons.”
Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, has been working closely on the #ProtectTheProtectors campaign to introduce legislation to better protect emergency service workers from attack.
She has promised to visit the MoD Police to understand more about the “unique challenge” they face in policing.
She said: “It’s great to get a bit more perspective on the unique challenges they’re facing. Having been involved in the #ProtectTheProtectors campaign. I’m building up quite a bit of experience now of what officers are facing on the front line but of course the MoD Police face quite unique challenges.
“So I was keen to meet with the officers – I’ve arranged to go and spend some time with them just to see what they’re up against so we can feed that into the #ProtectTheProtectors campaign.
“It’s been really useful for me to come and talk to the Chairman, and I want to go and spend some time with them and experience it because actually our constituents for the vast majority of MPs and our communities don’t see cuts to the MoD police in the same way as they do to their neighbourhood policing team, or their local CID.
“So it is quite a unique approach to policing and it seems as though the formula that affects their resources is very different to our regional police forces up and down the country. So it’s really important that MPs like me see that, understand that so that we can represent them in the chamber as much as our local police forces.”