Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
180. So they are saying, "We are doing
the same sort of thing"?
(Ms Craig) Yes.
181. Perhaps you would let us know how many
of them are employed?
(Ms Craig) Yes.
182. Thirdly, organisations like Royal Ordnance
have been trying to get rid of the MoD Police for a long time.
It looks as though Royal Ordnance is about to get rid of itself.
What is the current status of MoD Police and (a) Royal Ordnance
and (b) what I am still inclined to call DERA, not having conceded
yet that Qinetiq will ever get off the ground. I am sure they
will try to get shot of you because they would much prefer to
pay security guards £4.50 an hour than have MoD Police guarding
essential national intellectual property and assets.
(Ms Craig) At Royal Ordnance the MDP have now left,
with the sole exception of Nottingham where the pattern room has
been transferring. The last person leaves tomorrow I think.
(Mr Clarke) Yes, tomorrow.
(Ms Craig) So by tomorrow all MDP will have left all
Royal Ordnance sites.
Chairman: Which is the Ordnance site
which deals with nuclear weapons components?
Mr Hancock: None of them do.
183. None now, right. And Qinetiq?
(Ms Craig) There have been consultations taking place
about the future guarding arrangements which I think are just
about to conclude. The position there is that the proposal is
to remove MDP from three of the four sites. There are discussions
taking place with the local chief constables and with the Health
and Safety Executive to draw up a security plan for the arrangements
there once they have gone.
184. What happens where you have a co-location
of the residual organisation, DSTL, which will remain government-owned,
and Qinetiq? Will the MDP still be responsible for DSTL?
(Ms Craig) No, we are not responsible generally speaking
for any commercial sites.
185. DSTL is not commercial.
(Ms Craig) Sorry, for DSTL we will still be responsible.
186. So MDP will maintain a presence at the
(Ms Craig) If that is required by the customer, according
to the rules we lay down.
187. Then you will have, for example at Farnborough,
in my own constituency, the headquarters of Qinetiq right next
door to the existing DSTL business, and there will be a lot of
interplay between the two sites, but there will be a fence down
the middle and on one side there will MDP people and on the other
side Lord knows who. Yes?
(Ms Craig) I believe so. I do not know the details.
Chairman: Could you find out please and
let us know?
188. It is the same for us at Portsdown West
(Mr Cochrane) I cannot come back specifically on Farnborough
but, for example, at Boscombe Down, which is essentially a Qinetiq
site and therefore a List X company security responsibility, MDP
will be retained there for protection of life of service people
accommodated on that site. Going back to the earlier point and
the question of arming, armed guarding is essentially, apart from
nuclear security, employed for the protection of life and principally
at places where there are identified numbers of service personnel
in particular. The options for doing that are either MDP or service
personnel including MPGS. People are suggesting that a soft option
would be to go for service personnel rather than MDP because of
the relative cost, but the reality is that even if in capitation
terms it might be attractive there is not an excess supply of
trained service personnel sitting on their beds waiting to be
employed in guarding duties. There is great pressure on service
189. So you would not want servicemen in excess
numbers doing watchmen or guarding roles?
(Mr Cochrane) No, and we would not employ servicemen
in situations where the establishment concerned was not a military
establishment, generally speaking.
190. Will these new arrangements of MoD Police
being withdrawn from Qinetiq begin when they are finally floated,
or whatever the process is, or will it begin whilst they still
formally remain within the ownership of the Ministry of Defence?
(Mr Clarke) The exact position, Chairman, is that
there has been a period of consultation and that consultation
has now concluded. We await the final decision and then, and this
is how it has happened in the past, there is a six months period
of notice given when it is my responsibility to manage the withdrawal
of MDP. The intention, as you are aware, is that that will happen
at three of the sites but not at the Boscombe Down site.
191. But that does not answer the Chairman's
question, whether it happens before flotation or only upon flotation
because there is some doubt as to whether it will be completed.
(Mr Clarke) I cannot answer that specifically and
I will have to check that myself.
(Ms Craig) It is not linked to flotation.
Mr Howarth: That is significant because
Qinetiq will remain owned by the state until such time as it is
floated. What you are suggesting is that there will be a wholly
new guarding regime of this state organisation.
Mr Hancock: We have already done it in
some places. It is already changed.
Chairman: We will come back to this in
192. I do find what you are saying very strange.
Guarding is changing at three of the four sites, but what has
changed from yesterday to today to make that change? Who has the
final say in that? If we have a private company which acquires
the company, what happens if from your point of view you think
we need MDP to guard this but they say, "No, we don't"?
Can you over-rule them? Can you insist they have them? Here is
a site that needs MDP one day but just because of a change of
structure suddenly the next day does not need them. Has the risk
changed? Are they doing different things on those sites?
(Mr Cochrane) I think there is a misunderstanding.
When we talk about these three former DERA sites, as they were,
there was no requirement by our own Defence Security Manual for
these to be arm-guarded.
193. Did they have armed guards?
(Mr Cochrane) Yes, they did, but in terms of the laid
down requirement, the laid down requirement for armed-guarding
applies most generally when there are service people accommodated
permanently on the site or when a site is worked 24 hours a day
by service people. The armed-guarding is there to protect their
lives against terrorist threat. In the case of these places, because
they were MoD sites, there was a requirement for a policing task,
the only option for employing people to carry out that task was
the MDP. There was also a requirement to provide an armed response
capability in the event of some attempted attack.
194. What then has changed?
(Ms Craig) What has changed is they are now a commercial
(Mr Cochrane) There was not a requirement
195. I accept it is now a commercial site, but
it does not do anything different from what they were doing, does
(Mr Cochrane) The situation was, because it was an
MoD site, there were MDP deployed there primarily for policing
reasons. Because they were MDP they were capable of being armed,
so they were also able to provide an armed response in the event
of an incident. What was required by our own Manual was an armed
response, not a permanent armed guard.
196. So the conclusion to draw from that then,
is that for many years we have been-over-protecting these sites,
(Mr Cochrane) No, because the MDP were needed to be
employed there for policing reasons and they had the capability
of being armed so it made sense.
197. But that reason is still there.
(Ms Craig) Yes, but they are now being replaced by
guards, the commercial guard force that the company
198. I do not accept this. It is absolute rubbish.
(Ms Craig)and by the local police.
Chairman: I think we will come on to
this in the private session. I apologise to the people who have
to leave early but we are now going into private session. Mr Howarth
will start us off in this private session.
199. If we could start with the aftermath of
11 September, how have you determined which MoD sites need the
greatest security measures? Are the priorities for those sites
determined centrally or by each individual service or different
commands within those services?
(Ms Craig) The detailed implementation of security
measures rests with the TLB holders, that is clear, but they are
guided by standards which we lay down centrally in the Defence
Security Manual. Much of that guidance is advisory but there are
some areas where minimum standards are laid down which everybody
has to follow. One of those areas is the nuclear area. Another
one is national policy which is set by the Cabinet Office. Another
area is guarding. With guarding, as John was explaining, for the
non-nuclear establishments we categorise the establishments centrally
and the highest priority we give is to sites which have identifiable
service personnel living and working permanently.