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Armed Services (Training)

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the terms of reference were for research he has undertaken into the impact of poor basic skills on drop out rates from Phase I and Phase II training in the armed services; what the principal conclusions were of this research; and if he will place a copy of the results in the Library. [26281]

Mr. Touhig: To date, no studies have been undertaken specifically looking at the impact of poor basic skills on the drop out rates from Phase 1 and 2 training, although the Army plans to conduct one in 2006.

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the wastage rates were in each of the four largest army Phase II training establishments in each of the last four years for which figures are available. [26283]

Mr. Touhig: The information requested is not held in the format requested. The table covers the last four financial years and shows the number of soldiers entering the four largest Army Phase 2 training establishments: Infantry Training Centre (Catterick) (ITC(C)), Defence College of Logistics (DCL), Royal School of Military Engineers (RSME) and the Defence College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (DCEME) and the level of wastage from training over the same period.
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Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Direct comparison between the input and wastage figures in any particular year can be misleading because of varying course lengths and fluctuations in numbers under training. The overall underlying wastage rate at Phase 2 over the last few years has, however, shown a slight increase. It should also be noted that, since April 2002, the Infantry has run a combined Phase 1 and 2 course at ITC(C); figures since this date therefore include numbers for Phase 1 where generally the level of wastage is higher.

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance he has issued to the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow concerning vetting procedures for military and civilian instructors at initial training establishments. [26289]

Mr. Touhig: While no specific guidance has been issued to the Army Personnel Centre (APC) concerning vetting for military instructors at initial training establishments, the APC has procedures in place to confirm the suitability of an individual selected for this type of employment.

Civilian instructors are managed by the Army Training and Recruiting Agency and screened for their suitability by the Defence Vetting Agency.

There is currently no requirement for either military or civilian instructors to undergo Criminal Records Bureau Employment Checks. However, this policy is currently under review.

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent changes he has made to the content of induction courses for staff and trainees at initial training establishments to identify at risk behaviour of trainees. [26299]

Mr. Touhig: Training to help instructors identify 'at risk' behaviour in trainees is provided in the 'Train the Trainer' (TTT) courses currently offered by the Defence Centre of Training Support. A new TTT package providing enhanced coverage of the subject will be mandated for all instructors, including staff in initial training establishments, from April 2006. The Department is currently piloting elements of this new course with the Army.

Concurrently all three services have introduced enhancements to induction training for new staff and to the arrival briefings given to trainees. New training staff now receive guidance from appropriately qualified personnel on how to recognize symptoms of at risk behaviour in trainees, including suicide, self-harm and bullying, and what corrective or referral action to take. In addition, arrival briefings for trainees have now been revised to include more emphasis on diversity and
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potential self-harm and bullying issues, including how to look out for each other and how to take appropriate referral action.

Armoured Protection

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department plans to ensure the provision of (a) fully armoured vehicles and (b) body armour to all UK troops in combat. [26628]

Mr. Ingram: We issue body armour to all UK troops on operations. We deploy vehicles with a level of protection commensurate with their operational role and with the threat, which we keep under continuous review.


Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the findings were of the Special Investigation Branch investigation of allegations of bullying involving soldiers of the Royal Highlands Fusiliers at Fort George Barracks, Inverness and on overseas duty in Cyprus. [25361]

Mr. Touhig: The Special Investigation Branch investigation into anonymous allegations of bullying covered in several newspapers has been completed and found no evidence to substantiate the allegations. During the course of the investigation, a number of additional allegations were made. These were pursued separately; most have been concluded with no evidence of wrongdoing, but some are still ongoing.

Civil Contingency Reaction Force

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many of the reservists who are part of the civil contingency reaction force have been deployed to Iraq; and if he will make a statement; [27167]

(2) how many of each of the civil contingency reaction force contingents are available to be deployed in the event of an emergency; and if he will make a statement. [27168]

Mr. Ingram: Details of those members of the civil contingency reaction force (CCRF), who have been deployed to Iraq, are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I can confirm that, when CCRF members are mobilised for overseas commitments, they are immediately replaced by other personnel.

All CCRF contingents would be available to be deployed, if required, in the event of an emergency.
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Courts Martial

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Attorney-General about the operation and supervision of the system of courts martial; and if he will make a statement. [26838]

Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and the Attorney-General have a strong mutual interest in the military criminal justice system. The three Service prosecuting authorities are subject to the general superintendence of the Attorney-General in their independent discharge of their statutory functions. A major Bill concerning the military justice system is to be introduced by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, shortly. It is therefore clearly appropriate that given their respective roles and responsibilities, the Secretary of State and Attorney-General exchange views on the subject of the military justice system.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the oral Answer of 7 November 2005, Official Report, columns 21–30, on courts martial, what the cost was of converting the court martial building at Colchester for trial of serving and former members of the Parachute Regiment accused of murdering an Iraqi citizen. [27103]

Mr. Ingram: The final cost of converting the building used for this court martial is expected to be in the region of £77,000. This covered basic repairs to the building including roof repair, lighting, heating and access for the disabled. On current plans, the building will be used for at least one other multiple defendant trial.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the 10 largest amounts of damages paid out by his Department in the last year for which figures are available, indicating in each case the nature of the claim. [27730]

Mr. Touhig: The information requested is contained in the Ministry of Defence's Claims Annual Report 2004–2005, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

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