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11 Jun 2008 : Column 252Wcontinued
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many domestic abuse offences were committed by ex-partners of victims in (a) A District Command Unit area, (b) B District Command Unit area and (c) Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. 
Paul Goggins: The Police Service for Northern Ireland has advised that it is not possible to provide figures for domestic abuse offences committed by ex-partners of victims.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many burglaries and robberies in Belfast North constituency involved the use of firearms in each of the last five years; 
(2) how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in Belfast North constituency by the use of firearms in the last five years, broken down by (i) age and (ii) sex. 
Paul Goggins: The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:
Statistics are captured on the basis of police districts and areas, and therefore the information requested is not readily available.
The Chief Constable will write to the hon. Member to provide answers in due course, and the letters will be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many serving members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland were convicted of drink-driving offences in each of the last 10 years. 
Paul Goggins: The following table details the number of serving members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland who have been convicted for drink driving and related offences in each of the last 10 years.
|Number of officers convicted|
Ministers and the PSNI take this issue very seriously, and an officer convicted by a court of a drink driving offence can expect to face a formal disciplinary hearing. This hearing can result in dismissal or a requirement to resign. A discipline panel will always treat each case on its own merits but officers presiding at such hearings must apply their judgement to the facts of the case to consider whether an alternative sanction could be justified.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what effect the dismissal of a police service trainee from one community for (a) misconduct and (b) illegal activity has on the complement of trainees from another community under the policies established for recruitment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The temporary 50:50 arrangements, as set out in section 46(1) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, apply only to recruitment. Once an appointed candidate has entered training they no longer apply. The dismissal of a trainee from one community, for whatever the reason, has no effect on the complement of trainees from another community.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his most recent assessment is of the risk posed by Republican terrorist groups. 
Paul Goggins: The 18(th) IMC Report published on 1 May highlighted that, while they have no support across the wider community, dissident republican groups still pose a threat to the security situation and remain intent on doing what they can to destabilise the political institutions. Recent events have underlined this assessment.
I have every confidence in the PSNIs ability to deal with dissident republicans; the PSNI, intelligence agencies and the Gardai are to be commended for their recent successful operations against these dissident groups.
Ms Buck: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what provision was made upon the sale of the Church Commission properties in Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark to prevent open market property sales and market rentals. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The sale of these residential properties by the Church Commissioners, a private charitable landlord, to a partnership between Grainger plc, a leading publically listed residential investor and Genesis, one of the country's largest housing associations, did not seek to prevent the new owners from undertaking open market property sales or achieving open market rentals where appropriate. These rights were available to the Commissioners who operated a policy of mixed rental levels during their ownership, and to have sought to exclude them from a sale would have significantly reduced the price achieved, and breached the Commissioners' legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent representations the Electoral Commission has received on the provision of services in the Welsh language; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it was notified by the Welsh Assembly Government on 18 April 2008 that it will be included in a tranche of bodies required by the end of August 2008 to prepare Welsh Language Schemes under the Welsh Language Act 1993.
The Electoral Commission has since 1 March 2004 had a voluntary Welsh Language Scheme in place which aims to ensure that Welsh and English speaking stakeholders have access to a consistent service in their preferred language. The Commission is working to ensure that the transition from a voluntary to statutory scheme is achieved effectively.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in delivering Mastiff vehicles to Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Good progress is being made with the next tranche of Mastiff vehicles and their delivery to theatre will begin later this year.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Trojan and (b) Terrier vehicles are deployed in Helmand province; and what their role is. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are no Trojan or Terrier armoured engineering vehicles currently deployed to Helmand province.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what force protection measures are in place at Kandahar airbase; and who is responsible for force protection measures at Kandahar airbase. 
Des Browne: Force protection measures at Kandahar airfield employ multiple layers of defence, including protective equipment and infrastructure, operations to disrupt attacks against the base together with tactics, techniques and procedures designed to minimise the chance of a successful attack. I am withholding further details as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has made of the merits of using Rafale aircraft for the planned aircraft carriers. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 October 2007, Official Report, column 1356W, to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the merits of converting the design of the two future aircraft carriers to nuclear power. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Nuclear power was one of the options considered during the concept phase of the future aircraft carrier project but it was discounted primarily for reasons of cost, of both the ships themselves and the infrastructure required.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much manpower will be required for the (a) operation, (b) maintenance and (c) training use of the 2000 provisionally proposed Piranha V vehicles; and which sections of the Army will use the vehicles. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The manpower that will be needed to operate, maintain and train for the FRES utility vehicle fleet will be determined by the number of vehicles that we buy and that number has yet to be fixed. The overall planning figures suggest that FRES will provide fleet of over 3,000 vehicles and that the utility vehicle will make up just over half the total fleet; however, precise fleet requirements for each FRES family are subject to change as the requirement matures and will not be confirmed until the main investment decisions are taken. It would therefore be premature to provide any further detail on manpower figures at this stage.
The utility vehicle family will be deployed in a range of battlefield roles. The protected mobility roles will be deployed principally in the infantry battalions that will be a central component of the mechanised brigades. The remaining utility roles will be deployed in a range of units across the medium and heavy forces.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the cost per vehicle is of each design role category of the Piranha V vehicle; 
(2) what the cost per vehicle is of the appliqué armour for each Piranha V vehicle; 
(3) what the projected in-service date for the future rapid effect system utility vehicle is. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Piranha 5 is the provisionally preferred utility vehicle design at this stage. The cost per vehicle of each of the FRES utility vehicle, any costs associated with fitting additional armour protection and the planned in-service date will be fixed at the main investment decision.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armoured heavy wheeled tractors have been purchased by his Department; and at what cost. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department procured 25 armoured heavy wheeled tractors between 1999 and 2000. The procurement cost is estimated to have been approximately £7.5 million.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armoured heavy wheeled tractors have been disposed of by his Department; to whom; and at what cost. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The full complement of 25 armoured heavy wheeled tractors was transferred to the Amey Lex Consortium (ALC) in 2005. ALC was contracted, under a private finance initiative (PFI) to provide 16 serviceable vehicles to meet the total fleet requirement, on the basis that the PFI would provide increased availability. As a result nine of the vehicles became the property of ALC for disposal.
In terms of cost, the inventory transfer agreement for the C vehicle contract was worth £40 million and the armoured heavy wheeled tractors formed part of this arrangement. By transferring rather than selling the inventory, MOD was able to secure a reduced daily hire rate over the duration of the contract (2005-20). Additionally, the Department receives a gain share from the sale of any legacy assets (vehicles and spares), which to date amounts to approximately £1 million and is likely to be significantly more through the life of the programme.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the armoured heavy wheeled tractors offered to the Amey Lex Consortium were part of the C category vehicle inventory. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Yes, in 2005 a range of equipments, historically classed as C vehicles, engineer construction plant equipment, mechanical handling equipment and cranes were transferred to the C vehicle PFI project with the Amey Lex Consortium (now ALC Ltd).
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the present C category vehicle contract between his Department and Amey Lex Consortium (ALC) permits his Department to require ALC to acquire specific types of vehicles; and whether under any circumstances ALC can refuse to accept C category vehicle types in the possession of the Army onto its inventory. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The C vehicle PFI contract requires the contractor to deliver a specified list of 144 capabilities. The requirements are mainly output based but in some cases, due to the nature of the task, allude to a particular type of vehicle.
The C vehicle PFI project has been delivering full service for two years, all contractual obligations regarding the transfer of eligible army equipment are concluded. Where a new capability short fall is identified an investment appraisal will be conducted and should the C vehicle PFI be the best value for money mechanism for its delivery, this will be subject to the negotiation of a contract amendment.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions exist for his Department to acquire and maintain C category vehicles outside the scope of the contract with Amey Lex Consortium. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The C vehicle PFI contract, with ALC Ltd, is exclusive only to those equipment capabilities stated within the contract and within the numbers therein. Where the Department require additional capability by either type or number, the provision of that capability is subject to normal investment appraisal procedures and may be provided either within the PFI, through a contract amendment, or separately through conventional procurement.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British Army FV430s (a) are to receive and (b) have been fitted with (i) a new engine and drive train, (ii) a package of armour, (iii) a remotely-operated machine gun and (iv) other improvements; how many have been made available to troops deployed on operations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The conversion programme of FV430s involves 900 vehicles. 532 of these have been fitted with a new engine and drive train, a large number have been up-armoured and some have been fitted with a remotely operated machine gun. I am withholding further information as its release would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the armed forces. Likewise I am withholding the number of FV430s available to troops deployed on operations.
Other improvements include air-conditioning, thermal blanket, wirecutter, enhanced electronic counter measures, protected weapon station, drivers night vision system, vehicle integrated personal role radio, new drivers hatch and other armour improvements. The ambulance variant has been fitted with a coolbox (for medical supplies) and a thermal imaging reversing camera.
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