Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
200. In other words, centrally you categorise
all the defence establishments, and different security criteria
apply to each of those categories, and you expect the service
responsible for that site to provide a level of security which
that category which you have determined centrally demands?
(Ms Craig) We define the category, we do not actually
go out ourselves and categorise them, that is left to the TLBs
to decide whether they fit into that category or not. Normally
it is fairly obvious actually.
201. So it is up to the individual service to
decide into which category each of its own establishments falls?
(Ms Craig) That is right.
202. Can I ask you a particular question which
arises from this very helpful brief you sent us. In respect of
Aldermaston and nuclear establishments, at paragraph 29 of your
submission to us, you said, ". . . the security of MOD nuclear
installations is at a permanently high level, based on a postulated
threat of armed terrorist attack with possible insider assistance,
and the security measures taken are based on treaty obligations
with the United States of America." That was complete news
to me and I would be grateful if you could explain why there are
treaty obligations with the United States on establishments presumably
like Aldermaston. Perhaps you can also shed some light on what
those treaty obligations require and whether they are substantially
different from the arrangements we would apply in the absence
of such treaty obligations.
(Ms Craig) The reason we define a postulated threat
is for two reasons. One is so we are quite clear what the criteria
are for providing physical security. The other is so there should
be common criteria for security of the nuclear materials wherever
they are based, whether in this country or abroad. I think that
is the reason we have these common criteria set down.
(Mr Cochrane) I have not got at hand the specifics
of the treaty but essentially the bottom line of it is that we
are required to give equivalent protection to nuclear materials
associated with our deterrent as the Americans provide to theirs
under the terms of the treaty.
203. Under the terms of what treaty?
(Mr Cochrane) It is the 1958 UK-US Mutual Defence
Agreement. We share nuclear design information so we agree security
standards. That is the agreement in question. I suppose, correctly
speaking, it should be described as an agreement rather than a
treaty. From the security point of view, we have to provide equivalent
security to that provided by the Americans. Because of the criticality
of nuclear weapons and everything that goes with them, unlike
other aspects of security, the measures taken do not flux as intelligence
raises and lowers the threat, instead we have an agreed postulated
threat which is essentially, as it happens, the same as the postulated
threat which applies in the United States. Therefore, in this
area, unlike other aspects of security, the detail on the numbers
of guards required and the response force required in the event
of an incident are mandatory and there is not a great deal of
scope for risk management of the sort that we were discussing
in the open session. So it is a different approach, a more stringent
approach, which means that the measures permanently in place are,
generally speaking, already at a higher level than those which
apply at the standard alert state which other establishments will
204. What you are saying, in essence, is that
as a result of this agreement obligation we will have a higher
standard of security level than, perhaps, we might otherwise have?
(Mr Cochrane) I could not say whether it would be
"otherwise have", it is a deliberate decision to maintain
the security of those establishments at a high level, yes.
205. Have those stringent measures changed since
11 September, in the sense that the United States and its view
of the threat, have they been in contact with us and said, "we
would like you to increase the level of security", notwithstanding
that it is at a permanently high level, but September 11 really
changed everything anyway?
(Mr Cochrane) What it would take is a change to the
postulated threat. The Americans have not come to us and said
they have changed their postulated threat. We have, on our side,
raised with them the question of whether we should now review
the postulated threat but we have not received an answer yet.
206. Can I move on the question of key point
defence, which was a concept which applied during the Cold War.
Can you tell us which sites have been designated as key points?
What is the rationale for determining whether a site requires
such a classification?
(Ms Craig) Chairman, key points are not
part of my responsibility. I think if you want to go into this
in great detail it would be better to wait until 13 February.
What I can say is at the moment there are over 160 sites designated.
(Ms Craig) Over 160 bythe MoD. That is being reviewed
at the moment and I think the number is likely to come down substantially.
208. What are the characteristics of a site
which might fall at the margin as to whether it might be a key
point, or fall outside a key point?
(Ms Craig) There are criteria. What happens is that
the sponsoring MoD department has to justify the inclusion of
a site on the list to a Committee chaired by the Director of Military
Operations, it is the DMO who decides, together with the Cabinet
Office, whether a site is listed as a key point or not.
209. You have retained the concept of key point
(Ms Craig) It is still there, yes.
210. There are no plans to give it up?
(Ms Craig) Not as far as I know.
211. Are all of these key points within the
MoD or do you have to get involved with sites that are not Ministry
of Defence or Armed Forces?
(Ms Craig) There are economic key points that are
not Ministry of Defence sites, but we would not have direct responsibility
for them, they are the responsibility of the site manager and
the police. The Ministry of Defence could go to their aid if requested
under the MACA arrangements. They are not directly my responsibility.
212. We have a situation where there are organisations,
buildings and designated key points that would not have an armed
(Ms Craig) Yes.
213. Is that satisfactory?
(Ms Craig) It is not for me to judge, I do not take
214. You are really too polite!
(Ms Craig) They are not my responsibility.
215. I would like to go back to the bit we started
to touch on, it is the same as this, where you guard and where
you do not, the security of service personnel. Up until fairly
recently there were armed guards at the hospital at Haslar, for
example, where there are both civilian and service patients being
treated and there are a substantial number of personnel working,
and there is also a hospital in your area, which is a civilian
hospital, with a small detachment of service personnel present,
would it be your intention for the MoD police still to have an
armed presence there? The second point relates to the safety of
sites that have gone out of MoD control through various floating
off? I draw your attention to the site at Haslar which is carrying
out experiments on animals, which does not present a threat in
the new sense but is very much an animals rights terrorist threat
and whether or not there is going to be an armed presence continued
on a site like the site at Haslar, where they carry out experimentation,
particularly on goats, which has become nationally controversial,
for very good reasons, which makes the people working there vulnerable
(Mr Cochrane) If I can come back, not on the specifics
of the Haslar site, but on these places that were formerly MoD
medical establishments which, to some extent, have been privatised
or where there is a military element or a capacity to look after
service personnel on what is now a civilian hospital.
216. What about the nature of the work, would
it put the people who work there at risk?
(Mr Cochrane) The example that you took, if we had
our people there and we felt that there was a threat to life as
opposed to just a public order threat from, let us say, animal
rights extremists, or whatever, if we felt people's lives were
in danger then, yes, again we would be looking at an armed presence.
217. It goes back to Kevan's point, either we
were overprotective in the past or we are not protecting them
properly now? I cannot see how one day you have an armed guard
there because there is a perceived threat and the next day, when
nothing has changed, the armed guard is taken off.
(Mr Cochrane) If we are talking about those DERA sites,
it is not for me to say whether we were overprotected. The owner
of the site, as the customer, determined his requirement for the
security of that site. The only option for delivering that security
was MDP in that situation really, because of the policing requirement.
There was the option of arming them, therefore I would imagine
it made good sense to the owner of the site to say, well not only
am I going to have MDP there in a policing task but I am going
to meet my requirement to have an armed response capability by
arming some of those MDP and effectively having them in an armed
218. The answer to the question is obviously
yes. To follow up on that, if you need an armed response now you
said on some occasions it is going to be picked up by the local
civilian police, where does the cost lie? Are the local civilian
police apportioned money for that in their budget to protect what
is now a commercial site rather than an MoD site?
(Mr Clarke) The reality is that two things have changed,
having seen precedence at other sites, the RO sites and the wisdom
of that decision, that decision was made and it is following that
precedent two things then changed, one is the security plan with
the company and with the local police service. The local police
force, each individual chief constable at these sites, has to
say, "I am prepared" and "I can provide an armed
response from my armed response vehicles in the force". Over
the last 10 years, as you may be aware, armed response vehicles
have become the norm in every provincial police force and, therefore,
those forces have to be able to respond to these locations in
a given time. If the chief constable were to say, "I cannot
do that, I do not have the resources to be able to do that",
I think it would be a different scenario. As it stands at the
moment the chief constables are saying, "We can add to that
security plan". There has been no transfer of money and the
costs will be where they fall to the home department force within
219. The local taxpayers, for example, in Durham
if we had a site, would be picking up the bill for private company
(Mr Clarke) The reality is there is not an additional
bill because the armed response will be provided from existing
7 See Appendix 1 p 62. Back