Mersey Tunnels Police
The Mersey Tunnels Police is a small, non-Home Office police service which polices the Mersey Tunnels in Merseyside, England (between Liverpool and the Wirral) on behalf of the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority.
Role and powers
Mersey Tunnels Police officers hold the office of constable. Unlike most police services in England and Wales, the service is answerable to the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive rather than the Home Office. The executive also appoints the service's officers who are formally sworn in as police constables by a justice of the peace. As of 2010 the service consisted of around 55 officers across the various ranks. The service's jurisdiction consists of the tunnels themselves, marshaling areas, entrance/exit roads and all Mersey Tunnels premises. Officers execute their duties in accordance with The Mersey Tunnels Bylaws. In some cases, officers may assist with high-urgency motorway incidents in the surrounding area where other patrols are further away.
The tunnels service have primary responsibility for these areas, meaning they enforce the Mersey Tunnels bylaws and like all other police services the various and relevant UK statute law/legislation although perhaps by the nature of the role primarily the Road Traffic Act. Mersey Tunnels Police officers are the first line responders to any incidents or emergencies within the tunnels or premises although certain incidents and enquiries of a serious nature may be dealt with by Merseyside Police in accordance with local agreements between the two services.
Formed in January 1936 with two inspectors, four sergeants and 14 constables they undertook motorcycle patrols of the tunnels. The force grew to a maximum strength of 1 Chief Superintendent, 1 Chief Inspector, 5 Inspectors, 15 Sergeants and 60 Constables.
The service uses a small range of vehicles. The newest models bought in 2010 being the Land Rover Discovery IV (3 litre) and Ford S-Max. Additionally, the service has some older Ford Galaxy and Land Rover Discovery II models which are also planned to be replaced in the second half of 2010 with Ford and Land Rover Freelander vehicles.
The Police service was heavily criticised by the Merseyside coroner for its handling of a pursuit in which two 14-year-old boys were killed in 2003 after crashing a stolen car into a roadblock set up by Mersey Tunnels officers. The coroner went so far as to recommend that either the policing of the tunnel should be altogether transferred to Merseyside Police, or tunnel officers should be trained to national policing standards.
In March 2009, a driver was allegedly pulled over by a Tunnels officer for laughing behind the wheel, however the service has no official record of this incident having taken place.
- List of police forces in the United Kingdom
- Law enforcement in the United Kingdom
- Port of Liverpool Police
- Merseyside Police
- Mersey Tunnels
- "Tunnel Byelaws (1985 Local Government Act (Section 105 (i)):1)" (PDF). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Fitzpatrick, Tony. "Response to a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act". WhatDoTheyKnow.com. Merseytravel. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "BBC Tunnel crash deaths 'unlawful'". 25 March 2003. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Brooke, Chris (5 March 2009). "Motorist pulled over and quizzed... for LAUGHING at the wheel". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 November 2015.