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Mr. Ingram: It is difficult to make direct comparison between Army strength figures for 1997 and 2001 as we now provide figures for Army strength incorporating UK Trained Personnel, the Full Time Reserve Service and Gurkhas for the last two years. Prior to this strength figures based on this definition were not available. I have therefore restricted my answer to UK Trained Army Personnel only. This stood at 97,812 as at 31 December 1997 and 96,373 as at 31 December 2001.
24. Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on developing methods of distinguishing between enemy combatants and civilians in each year from 199798 to the latest year for which figures are available. 
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capability. It is the product of a wide range of different activities and approaches, and equipment based solutions. For example, it ranges from the assessment of strategic level intelligence for strike missions all the way through to training for sentry duty. There is therefore no simple figure available.
Dr. Moonie: As at 1 January 2002, there were 6,509 personnel in the regular Defence Medical Services against an operational and retained task requirement of 8,387. These figures exclude student nurses and other new entry trainees.
Mr. Ingram: No forward manpower targets have been set to reduce the work force in the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA). However, DARA has reduced its work force year on year as a direct result of rationalisation initiatives and the introduction of new working practices. There has been no requirement for any compulsory redundancies as a result of any of these initiatives. In line with the assumptions made when it was established as a trading fund, the Agency will continue to pursue
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Mr. Ingram: Army and Royal Air Force courts-martial scheduled to begin in the period immediately after 26 February were postponed in the light of the judgment on that day of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Morris v. the United Kingdom. This was to enable those services to address the concern expressed in the judgment, about the potential for external influence over certain members of court martial panels. The Army and Royal Air Force have now followed the Royal Navy in including in Queen's Regulations a prohibition on reporting on court martial members for the performance of these duties. All three services have also included in Queen's Regulations a reminder that it is an offence to attempt to influence a member of a court martial.
Army and Royal Air Force courts-martial resumed on 3 and 23 April respectively. The backlog of 54 Army and nine Royal Air Force trials that had been postponed should be cleared by the end of June. We regret the inconvenience to the accused and their representatives, and to witnesses, but the postponements have had only a marginal effect on the operation of the discipline system as a whole. Moreover it has been valuable to have clarified the position regarding the very proper independence of court martial members.
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence is committed to its in-house guard force, which has provided first class unarmed protection to the Defence Estate for almost 10 years. The organisation of the MGS has recently been reviewed, and it has been decided, subject to consultation with the trade unions, to move to a centralised structure, under the direction of the Chief Constable, MOD Police, so as to provide a more efficient and effective unarmed guarding service.
Mr. Ingram: The task of air defence of the United Kingdom falls to the RAF, particularly RAF Strike Command. The UK continues to meet its commitment to NATO to preserve the integrity of our airspace using a combination of air surveillance radar and quick reaction aircraft. Those assets could also be used in a national capacity.
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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what savings will be made in each year to 2012 by the decisions (a) to bring forward the withdrawal of (i) 5 squadron, (ii) the RN Sea Harriers and (iii) HMS Fearless and (b) to reduce (1) the state of readiness of HMS Sheffield and (2) the number of Nimrod aircraft on order. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to him on 24 April 2002, Official Report, column 262W, 18 April 2002, Official Report, column 1078W, and 15 April 2002, Official Report, columns 71213W. In the case of Sea Harrier decision, further to the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 16 April 2002, Official Report, columns 82334W, the estimated savings (net of the costs of the related upgrading of the Harrier GR7 to GR9) over the period 200203 to 200506 (the latest year for which we have accurate figures) are some £109 million. The net savings accruing from the current plan to hold HMS Sheffield at extended readiness between 2002 and 2004 are estimated to be some £28 million over the period 200203 to 200405. All savings are compared to previous plans.
Mr. Hoon: Eurofighter will be a multi-role aircraft, conditioned primarily for air defence. It will, however, have an initial air-to-surface capability as soon as it becomes available for operational deployment, in the second half of the decade. We plan to enhance this capability during incremental upgrades.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the services of his Department have not been reviewed under the Better Quality Services Initiative; and when they will be reviewed. 
Dr. Moonie: The Better Quality Services (BQS) programme was launched in 1998 and adopted by the Cabinet Office in the Modernising Government White Paper of 1999 as a means of delivering continuous improvements in the quality and effectiveness of Government activities and services. It requires all Government Departments to review every activity and service over a five year period starting in October 1999. The scheme covers all activities in Departments, agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies, and is similar in remit to the Best Value programme in local government.
The Ministry of Defence is committed to the regular and rigorous review of its business activities. BQS is one of a range of approaches we have taken to achieve this. Progress against our BQS programme has been published in our departmental performance reports. As at the end of March 2001, over 70 per cent. of the plan had been completed. The activities then outstanding were largely small-scale management reviews, possible public-private partnerships, retendering of service contracts and reviews of individual agencies. Our next departmental performance report, in the autumn, will give further information on our business improvement programme.
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