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9 Jan 2006 : Column 221W—continued


Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqis detained by UK forces have been (a) handed over to the custody of (i) Iraqi and (ii) US forces and (b) subject to prosecution in the Iraqi courts. [28402]

John Reid: Iraqis detained by the United Kingdom forces are either criminal detainees or security internees. Criminal detainees are transferred as soon as practically possible into Iraqi custody on their detention by UK forces, usually within eight hours. Security internees are detained and then held at the Divisional Temporary Detention Facility at Shaiba.

Records held in MND(SE) show that 105 security internees have been transferred into the Iraqi criminal justice system since 1 January 2004.

We do not keep figures on the number of criminal detainees placed immediately into Iraqi custody. This is routine business for UK forces and transfers occur very frequently.

Following the end of hostilities in Iraq and the completion of the UK's prisoner release programme, a total of 358 prisoners taken into custody by the UK were transferred to US custody at Camp Bucca. With the opening of the UK's Divisional Temporary Detention Facility in December 2003, they, along with further individuals transferred into US custody in the meantime, were either released, or transferred back to UK custody.

A further 18 security internees have been transferred to US custody at various times. All but four have been released.

Once individuals have been transferred into the Iraqi legal system they become a matter for the Iraqis. We do not hold information on how many are subject to prosecution in the Iraqi courts. I met with the Iraqi Minister of the Interior on 4 December and made clear
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to him the international community's view that Iraq must have suitable systems of detention, trial and incarceration in line with its international obligations.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 November, (PQ 17735/17745) by what means the reports referred to were received; what the original sources of the information were; and what action has been taken as a consequence of these reports. [32255]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 November 2005]: Irefer the hon. Member to my previous answer. For reasons of operational security, we do not comment on intelligence matters.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) his Department and (b) the Army has conducted public opinion surveys in Iraq. [32915]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 29 November 2005]: Yes. Multi-National Division (South-East) used to conduct regular polls, for example the Seven Cities Poll, and the Iraq Opinion Trend Analysis. This latter continued until April 2005, since which time, regular opinion polling has been carried out only nationwide, at Corps level. At present, MND(SE) conducts only ad hoc polling.

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place to protect employees of his Department in Iraq. [33692]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom Armed Forces personnel deploying to Iraq receive comprehensive, theatre-specific pre-deployment training, which includes weapons training and force protection skills. In theatre, all personnel are subject to the Reception, Staging and Onward Integration process, which includes further range work, and ground familiarisation. Commanders employ force protection measures as appropriate. These are kept under continual review and adjusted, as necessary, consistent with the assessed threat level in the operating environment.

Ministry of Defence civilian workers who have volunteered for operational duties in Iraq also undertake theatre-specific pre-deployment training, which includes medicals, CBRN training, weapons awareness, battlefield first aid, stress management, and hostage briefing. Military Commanders also ensure that appropriate force protection is provided for them. If Commanders conclude that, in their judgment, civilians are at unacceptable risk, they will remove them to a safer environment as soon as operationally feasible.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what equipment British forces in the Gulf have for dealing with riots in Basra. [37234]

Mr. Ingram: British forces deploy to Iraq with a range of vehicles and specialist equipment with which to deal with a range of potential incidents, including protective suits, shields, riot guns and batons for use in the event of civil unrest. For reasons of operational security, however, we do not comment further on specific equipment capabilities or numbers. Infantry, Royal Armoured Corps and Artillery units and sub-units undertake theatre-specific public order training as part of their operational training package, although the ultimate choice of vehicle or equipment used in any given situation will be dependent on the commander's
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assessment of the task in hand and the nature of the current threat. As the Iraqi security forces increasingly assume responsibility for public order, however, British forces are involved far less frequently than before in such operations.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) of 12 December 2005, Official Report, column 1787W, on Iraq, how much was spent in each month; and if he will make a statement. [39192]

John Reid: The costs of operations are calculated on a net additional basis and audited figures are published each year in the Ministry of Defence's annual report and accounts. Expenditure varies depending on troop numbers and activities and cannot therefore sensibly be broken down on a monthly basis. Further to the answer of 12 December 2005, Official Report, column 1787W, Ican however offer some further breakdown in the audited costs as follows:
£ million
Operations in Iraq629
Expenditure on capital equipment218
Operations in Iraq1,051
Expenditure on capital equipment260
Operations in Iraq747
Expenditure on capital equipment163
Grand total3,068

Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) Project

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial responsibilities his Department has for design changes to the Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) Project. [34029]

Mr. Ingram: As the Design Authority for the Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) programme, Swan Hunter has contractual responsibility to meet the cost of the majority of design changes. However, those changes instigated by the Ministry of Defence are paid for by the Department.

Military Exports/Aid (Maldives)

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) number and (b) value of UK (i) military exports and (ii) aid to the Maldives in each year since 2000. [38351]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my right hon. Friend to the Government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls, which contain information, by destination, on export licensing decisions, and on the value of exports of military equipment from the United Kingdom. The Annual Reports are available from the Library of the House.
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As for military aid or assistance, following the Tsunami of 26 December last year, 13 Royal Navy engineers deployed to the Maldives in January to assist the Maldivian National Disaster Management Centre and the State Electricity Company in surveying the national power and distribution systems and help repair generators. Following the subsequent gifting of two ex-MOD landing craft to the Maldivian Government, two Royal Marine instructors deployed to Male to familiarise the Maldivian National Security Services with landing craft operating and servicing. Otherwise, military assistance to the Maldives since 2000 has been limited to a few Maldivian military personnel attending non-combatant UK training courses.

Nuclear Weapons

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the UK nuclear arsenal operates on a hair-trigger alert; and how long the UK would have to decide whether to retaliate in the case of a possible launch of a nuclear attack. [38279]

John Reid: The operational posture of the UK's nuclear forces is set out in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review at paragraphs 66–68. They do not operate on a so-called-'hair-trigger alert', but are normally at several days 'notice to fire'. We do not comment on hypothetical scenarios involving the possible use of nuclear weapons; our course of action in any particular situation would depend on all the relevant circumstances.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his evidence to the Defence Select Committee on 1 November, whether the destructive power of the UK's nuclear force has been reduced in linewith the 70 per cent. reduction in fire power referred to. [38058]

John Reid: Yes. I refer my hon. Friend to the Strategic Defence Review, paragraph 64, and the associated chart.

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