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Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent measures he has taken to stop bullying in the armed forces; [105223]

Mr. Spellar: There is not a specific military offence of bullying in the Services.

Any information provided on reported incidents or complaints of bullying, or what is perceived as bullying by the victim, leading to personnel being subsequently charged with a disciplinary offence, is complicated by the number of different specific charge which could be more generally interpreted as bullying. Furthermore, not all disciplinary cases are processed through the Court-Martial system; some cases of a less serious nature might well be dealt with by a Commanding Officer summarily, and are only recorded on local personnel files. Each individual file would therefore need to be searched manually to provide appropriate data. This could be completed only at a disproportionate cost.

Similar difficulties apply in determining whether Service personnel go Absent Without Leave (AWOL) because of bullying. The only way to determine a cause for AWOL would be to examine every Service interview record following the return of an absentee. This could be completed only at a disproportionate cost.

The Services policy, which is promulgated to all personnel, is that bullying, or sexual and racial harassment, will not be tolerated. Furthermore, before enlistment procedures are carried out, recruits are made aware of the Services' policies on bullying and harassment. It is the responsibility of officers and senior ranks/rates to preserve good order and discipline at all times, and this is reinforced on the appropriate training

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courses. All allegations of bullying or ill-treatment are investigated, and depending on the strength of the evidence, appropriate disciplinary action is taken against the perpetrators. The policy of zero tolerance towards bullying was re-emphasised when the new code of social conduct was issued to all personnel on 12 January 2000. All these measures are kept under review and re-focused as necessary.

Additionally, the Services have produced Equal Opportunities Directives and pamphlets, which emphasise that bullying, and racial or sexual harassment are unacceptable, and give guidance on making complaints.

Within the last 18 months, the Services have also set up confidential telephone helplines. The contact numbers are well publicised throughout the Services and are accessible to all personnel. While there is some difference in the methods of operation, the Services hope that personnel will use the helplines should they be subjected to harassment or bullying, or would welcome advice if they wish to discuss issues in complete confidence. All those in positions of authority have a responsibility for personnel under their command. Individuals can make

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their case known through the chain of command, direct, to their commanding officer, medical officer or padre if they do not feel that the initial support offered is adequate.

All three Services have been required, since December 1997, to record and submit quarterly returns to the Ministry of Defence detailing all formal complaints to the chain of command of sexual and racial discrimination and bullying. The details of each complaint record whether the specific complaint is physical or verbal in nature. There are some differences between the Services in the way that information is recorded, and some of the information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The information that is available is being collated. I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the House.

Warships (Portsmouth)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Royal Navy warships in Portsmouth Harbour at 0900 hours on (a) 2 January, (b) 9 January and (c) 16 January. [104925]

Mr. Spellar: The following Royal Navy warships were scheduled to be in Portsmouth harbour on the specified dates:

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Warships in Portsmouth Naval base at 0900

ShipType2 January 20009 January 200016 January 2000
AngleseyPatrol vesselYesNoNo
Atherstone MCMV(8)YesNoNo
BangorMine hunterYesYesYes
Bicester MCMVYesYesYes
BlazerFast training boatYesYesNo
DasherFast training boatYesYesNo
EnduranceIce patrol shipYesNoNo
FearlessLanding platform dockYesYesYes
GrimsbyMine hunterYesYesNo
GuernseyPatrol vesselYesYesNo
IllustriousAircraft carrierYesYesYes
IntrepidLanding platform dockYesYesYes
InvincibleAircraft carrierYesYesYes
Iron DukeT23YesYesYes
Leeds CastlePatrol vesselYesYesYes
LindisfarnePatrol vesselYesYesYes
PuncherFast training boatYesYesNo
PursuerFast training boatNoYesYes
RaiderFast training boatYesYesNo
ShetlandPatrol vesselYesYesYes
TrackerFast training boatYesYesYes

(8) MCMV mine counter measures vessel

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Defence Evaluation and Research Agency

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency. [105623]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, West

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(Ms Squire) on 26 October 1999, Official Report, column 768W.

RAF Pilots

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how under strength the RAF is with regard to qualified (a) fast jet and (b) support aircraft pilots. [105620]

Mr. Spellar: The position is as follows:

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Requirement (9)(10)Trained strength (11)+/-
All ranks--Fast Jet882857-25
All ranks--Multi Engine/Rotary Wing1,3151,360+45
Junior Officer Pilot(12)--Fast Jet554459-95

(9) Includes non-flying posts for which aircrew experience and knowledge are required. The majority of these non-flying posts require senior officers.

(10) 1 April 2000.

(11) 1 December 1999.

(12) Flight lieutenant (and squadron leader specialist aircrew) and below included in all ranks total. This is the RAF's most critical manning category.

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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many qualified (a) fast jet and (b) support aircraft RAF pilots are currently undertaking non-flying duties. [105619]

Mr. Spellar: The number of qualified pilots who, on 1 December 1999, were not filling specific flying appointments, was as follows:

All ranks--Fast Jet298
All ranks--Multi Engine and Rotary Wing428

These pilots were either filling ground appointments or were on approved Manning and Training Margin activity, which included those undertaking further flying training.

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