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28 Jan 2008 : Column 28W—continued


Police Service of Northern Ireland: Graduates

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) assistant chief constables, (b) chief superintendents and (c) superintendents in the Police Service of Northern Ireland are university graduates. [180633]

Paul Goggins: Within the Police Service of Northern Ireland the following numbers of officers in each rank who are showing qualifications which would be attributable to university graduates (Open University Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate, Degree and Post Graduate, Higher National Certificate and Post Graduate and Higher National Certificate only) are:

Number of posts Number of graduates

(a) Assistant chief constables

7

7

(b) Chief superintendents

28

27

(c) Superintendents

63

54


These figures also include officers who are temporarily promoted to each rank.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Standards

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he plans to take to improve community confidence in the capability of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to respond effectively to crime. [180866]

Paul Goggins: Confidence in the police is high—the latest NI Crime Survey figures, for the period 1 October 2006 until 30 September 2007, show a further upturn in confidence levels in police and policing arrangements, now standing at 78 per cent.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board works with the PSNI to increase confidence, and a range of targets are set out in the current Policing Plan. A copy of the current Policing Plan 2007-10 is available on the Policing Board website:

Prisons: Females

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of building a female prison as
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referred to in the recent Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Report on the Prisons Estate in Northern Ireland (HC 118). [182304]

Paul Goggins: As I previously announced, the Northern Ireland Prison Service is taking forward a review of the needs of female offenders, including the scope for provision of a dedicated facility.

The project team is still in the research phase, including an examination of good practice in other jurisdictions, and is scheduled to provide Ministers with a draft report by the end of February. Costings will not be available until late summer 2008.

Weapons

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent estimate he has made of the number of weapons held by each (a) Republican and (b) Loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [182456]

Paul Goggins: As any estimate about the number of illegally-held weapons in Northern Ireland would be based on intelligence, it would be inappropriate to publish this information.

Decommissioning has been a key measure for securing the trust and confidence necessary to achieve political stability in Northern Ireland. There needs to be engagement with the IICD by all paramilitary organisations, and that must be backed up by action.

Defence

Academies

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1204W, on which dates officials of his Department had discussions with officials from the Department of Children, Schools and Families on the sponsorship of academies. [182350]

Derek Twigg: MOD officials have discussed the general issue of sponsorship of academies with officials from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) on a number of occasions, though these were not formally minuted meetings. In particular officials spoke on 5 September 2006 and 15 March 2007 on sponsorship and there were a number of other exchanges. These discussions confirmed that the MOD would not sponsor academies, but that it was appropriate for the local chain of command to engage with sponsors where there was a significant Service community interest. For example, there has been considerable contact between military representatives in Wiltshire and the sponsor of the planned Wellington academy.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many men from the (a) 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, (b) 1st Battalion The Rifles
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and (c) 2nd Battalion The Scots Guards are providing reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan. [182313]

Des Browne: None of the Battalions listed are providing any reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan.

Air Force: Military Bases

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the UK's military airfield capability; and if he will make a statement. [181952]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The UK's military airfield capability meets operational and training requirements.

As I informed the hon. Member on 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1344-45W, the number and operation of military airfields is under constant review to ensure that the best use is made of the Defence Estate for our armed forces.

Armed Forces Memorial

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future funding of the Armed Forces Memorial and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. [181483]

Derek Twigg: We are considering what assistance might be given to the trustees in raising the money required to cover the outstanding costs of the project.

The National Memorial Arboretum currently receives grant in aid of £250,000, index-linked, towards the cost of maintenance of the arboretum. The current agreement for this continues until October 2009.

Armed Forces: Parachuting

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many parachute jumps service personnel must make to qualify for parachute pay each year. [182333]

Derek Twigg: Payment of Specialist Pay (Parachute) is made to service personnel who have passed the Basic Parachute Course and are assigned to Specialist Pay (Parachute) posts. To remain qualified, an individual must make a minimum of one parachute descent every 24 months.

Armed Forces: Pay

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the levels of annual pay increases for members of the armed forces in each year of the Comprehensive Spending Review period. [181018]


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Des Browne: The MOD submits evidence to the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body, which provides independent advice and makes recommendations on armed forces pay for the coming year.

Armed Forces: Schools

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision of the continuing education allowance for service children forms part of the forces covenant; and if he will make a statement. [181067]

Derek Twigg: There is no precise definition of what elements of Service personnel allowances might contribute to a Military Covenant. The provision of Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) assists Service personnel in achieving continuity of education for their children; continuity that would otherwise be denied them in the maintained day school sector if the children accompanied the Service parent on frequent assignments at home and abroad. It is one of a range allowances designed to provide targeted and appropriate support to Service personnel and their families.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the policy on continuing education allowance for service children was last reviewed; and when the policy will next be reviewed. [181068]

Derek Twigg: Continuity of education allowance (CEA) was examined in detail in 2004, in preparation for the migration from three single Service legacy delivery systems to the tri-Service Joint Personnel Administration (JPA).

CEA is also part of the strategic remuneration review (SRR), which is an over-arching review of remuneration provided to Service personnel. The SRR is due to submit its recommendations to the Defence Management Board during spring 2008.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact on educational achievement of the children of military personnel of relocation in terms of (a) academic results and (b) personal and social development of the children; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the relocation of military personnel on education results of schools attended by their children. [181516]

Derek Twigg: The only rigorous evidence currently available that demonstrates academic achievement of service children is the Key Stage results in service schools overseas, run by the Service Children's Education (SCE) Agency. These results would regularly place them well within the equivalent of the top 25 per cent of local education authorities in England. In order to understand academic achievement more widely, the Department for Children, Schools and Families has introduced a service indicator on the annual school census and is working with MOD on a joint mitigating mobility project to identify the best way of improving outcomes further.

The MOD has no specific evidence of the impact of relocation on personal and social development of children, but the mitigating mobility project will also
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consider this aspect. Should problems arise, there is a wide range of support available to service personnel and their families. This includes unit staff, welfare agencies and specialist organisations that offer support directly to families, depending on the specific need.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his officials first discussed with Essex local authority schooling for the children of Colchester Garrison; on what subsequent dates discussions have been held; which (a) officials from his Department and (b) officials from Essex local authority attended; which (i) Ministers and (ii) Essex County Councillors were present at these meetings; what the location was of each meeting; and what the subject heading was of each item discussed. [182349]

Derek Twigg: I have agreed to meet with the hon. Member to discuss this issue and will write to him after the meeting.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the Panther command and liaison vehicles are located; and (a) when and (b) where they will be deployed. [180035]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Around a third of the planned fleet of 401 Panther vehicles have been delivered to the Army. Panther vehicles are located at Ashchurch, Bordon and Bovington, where inspections and introductory and specialist training are being carried out. While training is ongoing, no decisions have been taken on when or where they will be deployed.

Belize: Armed Forces

Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops will remain in Belize at the end of 2008. [182654]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of British troops stationed at the British Army Training Unit Belize (BATSUB) at the end of 2008 is expected to be 40.

BATSUB’s role is to co-ordinate British Army training activity in Belize. The actual number of troops in Belize at any one time will vary depending on the training programme.

Defence Review

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances he would consider undertaking a Defence Review. [180619]

Des Browne [holding answer 21 January 200 8 ]: The 1998 Strategic Defence Review (Cm 3999) and 2002 New Chapter (Cm 5566) White Papers identified the major challenges to UK security as the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the spread of international terrorism and the threat posed by weak and failing states. In response to these challenges, they set the requirement for the UK to maintain expeditionary, balanced and flexible armed forces. These assumptions were validated in the 2003 White Paper “Delivering security in a Changing World”
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(Cm 6041-I) and were endorsed again in work leading to the 2007 comprehensive spending review (Cm 7227). The recent CSR settlement of 1.5 per cent. real terms growth means an additional £7.7 billion for Defence by 2011, continuing the longest period of sustained real growth in planned defence spending since the 1980s. Our priority is to continue to modernise the armed forces to deliver the capabilities needed to meet these challenges.

Defence Equipment: Motor Vehicles

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military vehicles were cannibalised in each of the last 12 months, broken down by vehicle type. [182324]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: This information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 22 November 2007, Official Report, column 1030W, and 25 October 2007, Official Report, column 476W.

Departmental Accountancy

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what items of his Department's (a) revenue and (b) expenditure are uprated using (i) the consumer prices index, (ii) the retail prices index and (iii) other measures of inflation. [179948]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member.

Departmental Assets

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which assets of his Department in Hampshire have been sold since 1997; and what the (a) sale completion date and (b) price realised was for each. [181663]

Derek Twigg: Records of transactions prior to 2000 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. From 2000, details are given in the following table:


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