Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
220. There will be. The company are not having
to pay for it and you are not going to pay for it out of your
budget, the local council tax payers are funding it through their
taxation, are they not?
(Mr Clarke) The reality is there will be a diversion
221. Wait a minute, I hate people avoiding questions,
just say yes or no to some of these things. It is quite clear
there is a cost that is passed on to local civilian police, is
(Mr Clarke) No, I do not believe there is an additional
cost passed on. The resources are there already and they will
Mr Hancock: They are not there already.
222. When you provided it there was no cost?
To sit there and say there is no cost to the local authority is
(Ms Craig) The local police are not providing a permanent
presence, they are providing a quick response and they have that
223. They do and there is a cost involved.
(Ms Craig) The commercial guards replacing the MDP
guards are paid for by the company.
Mr Jones: I accept that. To say there
is no cost to the local police force that is not the case, I do
not accept that.
224. How many times would you estimate that
a police force would be activated with its armed response unit
to go to a private company, it is not going to be a weekly occurrence,
(Mr Clarke) I would not expect it is. I really have
no information on that, so I genuinely cannot answer the question.
I would not expect it to be frequent at all.
Chairman: There are not any legal objections,
are there, for a police force coming to the assistance of a private
company? I am trying to work out with my colleague if he is trying
to argue that somehow being private means the police and armed
response team should have to be charged?
Mr Jones: I am not saying that at all.
All I am saying is it is quite clear that the actual cost is being
pushed on to the local civilian police. It is for the chief constable
to build that into the capacity of the armed response vehicle
and therefore there is a cost involved. To say there is not I
do not accept.
Mr Howarth: He is doing that for the
Chairman: Point made. Not much of a point,
but point made.
Kevan Jones: You might not think it is
a point, Chairman, I think it is.
225. This whole discussion has excited my curiosity
as the Member of Parliament for the Rosyth and Crombie area. I
do not know whether you can give the detail now, or somebody can
write to me, I am just curious, given the review that is going
on, whether the Ministry of Defence Police will retain the responsibility
for Crombie, which is an ammunitions depot, which whilst privately
owned contains nuclear material and whether it will end its responsibility
to Qinetiq, as it now is, at Rosyth, but still be present at HMS
Caledonia? You are nodding your heads, am I right that the MDP
police will retain a presence at the Caledonia dockyard but move
away from the formally DERA site?
(Mr Cochrane) If I can come back to Rosyth, first
of all, the situation at Rosyth is that the former Royal Navy
dockyard is a commercial operation. There is an MOU between the
MoD and the commercial operator whereby the MoD retains the right
to insist on extra security requirements as the MoD sees fit and
the contractor is obliged to carry them out, and ultimately that
is reflected in a charge back to the MoD. In general terms we
have retained the right to raise security there for such reasons
as we deem necessary. Generally the security of the commercial
site is the company's responsibility. The MDP in that area are,
first of all, based in HMS Caledonia, which is a naval barracks
and they are there partly to protect the lives of Service personnel
accommodated in that Barracks but they also deploy into the commercial
site in order to protect the lives of the service personnel who
are from time to time accommodated within the commercial perimeter.
That is why they are there, the company is responsible for the
security of the company's activities on that site. The MDP presence
is there to protect the lives of service personnel.
226. The nuclear material is the company's responsibility,
not the MDP's responsibility.
(Mr Cochrane) Yes, it is. If, for instance, as happens
from time to time, we were particularly concerned about the possibility
of nuclear demonstrators interfering and getting on to the commercial
site we would insist on additional security measures being applied
at that site but the police that would be called in would in this
instance be the local civilian police rather than the MDP. While
the fact is that MDP are there on the ground in an armed guarding
role, they are also policemen and they can act in a police capacity.
227. What about service personnel living in
homes owned by the Nomura Corporation, also known as Annington
Homes, are the MoD police operating on these estates even though
they are military personnel or is that the responsibility of the
civilian police forces?
(Mr Clarke) Generally speaking that is the responsibility
of civilian police forces. This was certainly a gap that was identified
in the QQR in respect of the policy of the employment of MDP officers
on married quarters estates. That forms a fundamental plank of
a review at Stage 2, which I expect will report in the next couple
228. Is that possibly coming back to you?
(Mr Clarke) Yes. The policing of married quarters
estates under the QQR is about determining whether this a primary
or secondary MDP role. There is an acceptance and a recognition
that there is a responsibility to police, perhaps, a higher level
on married quarters estates.
Mr Hancock: That is why in Hampshire
we have soldiers because your policemen are not there.
229. Mr Cochrane, can I take you back to another
point, you said that the MoD retained the right to change the
security criteria at some of the privatised bases.
(Mr Cochrane) Yes.
230. Who would pay when you change that criteria?
Who is responsible for picking up the tab?
(Mr Cochrane) Taking the example of Rosyth, it is
in the MOU that the company is obliged to carry out such extra
security measures as we deem necessary. In the first instance
the company would pay but the company would undoubtedly reflect
that back in their charges.
231. If the MoD changed the criteria then it
is the MoD that picks it up.
(Mr Cochrane) Ultimately it would be featured in the
charges that the company would raise on the contract, yes.
Mr Howarth: Going back to the point about
the key point defence items, I am not clear just where you draw
the line between that which is a site which falls within the key
point defence strategy and that which falls outside. Could I,
therefore, invite you to let us have a list of the sites, we do
have a safe here in our Committee office, which is where your
original document has been placed, it is secure. It will give
us a flavour of the kind of sites that are the beneficiaries of
Chairman: We now move on to question
three, which means we will keep you a long time, certainly until
1 o' clock. So sorry.
232. We have covered much of this ground already.
Talking about the details of defence at various different sites,
Ministry of Defence sites clearly were geared to be protected
against the Spetznatz threat. The manifestations of that were
never clear. However, when the Irish Republican Army in its various
different guises got into its stride in the late 1970s and 1980s
we saw MoD sites defended by a rash of barbed wire fences, chain
linked fences, Ministry of Defence Police patrolling and armed
forces patrolling. I visited Whittington Barracks in Lichfield
three or four weeks ago and I saw no difference in the defensive
posture of that particularly vulnerable site between when I visited
it and well before September 11, last year sometime. Because this
country has not been directly attacked by Al Qaeda or similar
organisations what additions have there been to security at sites
like this? How clearly should we be able to see these? Where is
the deterrece? Where is the reassurance posture, such as that
we saw during the IRA campaign during the 1970s and 1980s?
(Ms Craig) We have not been directly attacked by Al
Qaeda but we have been by the IRA for many years. The arrangements
we have in place we think are very good against terrorists. I
am not sure there is much more I can say on that.
233. We had an idea how the IRA would operate,
the possibility of their attack was another matter. We have a
jolly good idea of how the Irish Republican Army normally do their
business and their various splinter groups, yet they continue
to innovate, we saw that endlessly in the campaign, both on the
mainland and in Northern Ireland. Suddenly there is the prospect
of suicide attacks, suddenly the prospect of a whole gamut of
a different style of attacks. I see nothing in place to deter
or to reassure. For instance, what is the liaison with Israeli
authorities, what have we taken of their experience?
(Ms Craig) Since the Gulf War we have been very conscious
of the risk of suicide bombers and wherever we possibly can we
do get stand-off from MoD establishments and buildings, sometimes
it is not possible. In the middle of London it is very difficult
to get stand-off in a number of establishments.
234. Get what?
(Ms Craig) Stand-off. A separation, so if somebody
leaves a bomb they cannot leave it next to your building, you
put bollards and things up to get in the way, and wherever possible
we have done that.
(Mr Cochrane) I think as far as the general state
of alert goes, without being in any way complacent the level that
has been the norm since November 1999 is Bikini Black Special,
and that applies across government.
Certainly what we are talking about is physical
security measures, like barriers to stop vehicles being driven
in, access points kept as far away as possible from the sensitive
area, either the critical activity or where people are accommodated.
Those sorts of measures. We also have a regime of practising down
to unit level people's ability to respond to terrorist incidents.
Since September 11 those type of exercises have been expanded
to take account of the suicide bomber threat and the unconventional
threat. Maybe driving past the barracks today you would not see
that much difference but I can assure you that people have taken
on board the new threat. Meanwhile in central government, as I
mentioned, the alert state is being reviewed and we hope to make
it better suited to the new sort of threat and less driven by
the former threat that we had from the Irish Republicans.
Patrick Mercer: How frequently does that
information filter down to you?
235. Who does it filter to?
(Mr Cochrane) It comes to the Cabinet Office and then
it is disseminated in the form of guidance on the sort of things
we were talking about, earlier, physical security measures. That
guidance has been revised to take account of the new threats.
As far as the detailed information on specifics and the technical
details of barriers, and that sort of thing, are concerned there
is a forum chaired by the Security Service, which MoD and other
government security staff attend and are updated on the technical
requirements, and the technical requirements appear in the security
equipment catalogue. It is a constant process.
236. The point I am trying to get to is, as
the IRA's campaign evolved so their tactics evolved and as their
tactics evolved so too did our countermeasures evolve quite quickly.
What concerns me is the fact we were susceptible, we realised
that we were susceptible because we did something. As an example,
recently the Israelis have found themselves vulnerable to female
suicide bombers, therefore there has been a change in tactics,
I use that as an example, how quickly is that nuance reflected
in our countermeasures in this country?
(Mr Cochrane) In terms of the changing threat we do
have a very well established basis on which the Security Service,
who are responsible for assessing the terrorist threat, not just
here but overseas, are constantly disseminating intelligence on
the nature of the threat and the changing threat. By its nature
that sort of reporting tends to be highly classified but we do
ensure that that is disseminated outside MoD HQ to security and
intelligence staff down the chain of command in the services and
wherever possible we ensure that a sanitised version of that intelligence
is provided at a lower level of classification where it can be
used in briefing everybody on an establishment. The process of
a threat assessment and dissemination of intelligence is well
established. Where there is some generic change, for instance
the RPG attack on Vauxhall Cross, following that there was generic
guidance issued from the Cabinet Office that we put throughout
the MoD to take account of this new aspect of threat. That is
what we would expect to happen with the sort of example you named.
If there was intelligence that the use of females suicide bombers
was a real option we should be taking particular care here.
Patrick Mercer: Keeping things firmly
in the weeds, if we may.
Mr Howarth: What does that mean?
237. Keeping things at a tactical level. We
have seen suicide bombers, the bomb tends to get the headlines,
but there are sustained gun battles frequently that go on round
the placing of the bomb and in cases of fighting, sustained gun
battles, is the Ministry of Defence policeman enough for the job?
(Mr Clarke) Obviously you would expect me to answer
that yes. I think it needs to be broadened as well into a broader
policing issue in respect of what activities have happened since
11 September. I am not sure if Chief Constable Ben Gunn is giving
evidence to the Committee in respect of his role as Chairman of
ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee. I am also a member
of that Committee and I am also a member of the four guardian
forces in respect of the capital, which are the Metropolitan Police,
the City of London, the British Transport Police and ourselves.
We participate fully in anti-terrorist issues of activities not
only for the city but in terms of the transference of informationwhether
it be about suicide bombers, I am sure Mr Gunn will tell the Committee,
it is not my role to do thatabout activity which has happened
between the anti-terrorist branch in the London Metropolitan Police
and ***, et cetera. I believe in respect of the role the Ministry
of Defence Police are required to do in respect of anti-terrorist
work we are up to the job, particularly through the postulated
threat. That is what our security measures, what our activities,
what our training is for at those locations where we are. The
relationship between ourselves and other home departments forces
at key installations, critical sites, whether they be in the capital
or else where, is excellent and we do take on board lessons learned,
particularly post 11 September, that are happening round the world.
I am particularly focussing on suicide bombers, which are horrendously
difficult to deal with. It is interesting that you made reference
to gun battles round suicide bombers, actually that is not the
experience. There is a difficulty in terms of identifying suicide
bombers before it literally goes bang. We are mindful of lessons
learned and those actually are rolled out not only to ourselves
but through the anti-terrorist section in London.
238. It was Kipling who warned us about the
female species being more deadly than the male.
(Mr Clarke) I could not pass comment on that.
239. I am rather surprised at that response.
I have recently taken part in looking at the French security system
and their response. The French have taken exactly the opposite
view, they feel their police forces, which are all carrying guns,
and their gendarmerie, who are very experienced in the activities
of fighting sustained gun battles, have now had to put the army
in to sites where they believe that there is a potential risk
of where a sustained gun fight would take place. Very frequently
you will see members of the army walking the streets in Paris,
in the main shopping centres there are now soldiers patrolling
in most of big department stores, they have soldiers on patrol
with police officers. At the Channel Tunnel on the French side
there is a military presence there constantly now, 24 hours a
day, up to 12 heavily armed soldiers there and at all of the airports
there is dual patrol between the police and service personnel.
When asked the question, why there was so many military present,
was the issue about the role of the police officers against the
role of the soldier, they felt there is a different role there
and in a gun fight with terrorists that police officers are not
the ones best equipped for dealing with that issue. I am really
surprised at the response you have come back with.
(Mr Clarke) I believe what you are saying is absolutely
correct, in a sustained gun battle it is not the police's role
and that is not what police training is about. Where we operate
in this country and the establishments that we operate at with
the postulated threat, whether it be at Aldermaston or Faslane,
as the initial response is by the police. That does not mean that
we do not operate alongside service personnel. Certainly in terms
of the MDP and the locations we are employed at we do work alongside
military personnel. In actual fact there comes a time when MDP
officers head down and it is the military who, as it were, execute
the action from there.
8 Note from Witness: There is no nuclear material
at Crombie and it is not a Qinetiq site. Back
See Appendix 1 p 63. Back