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24 Nov 2008 : Column 892W—continued

Armed Forces: Suicide

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many episodes of (a) suicide, (b) attempted suicide and (c) self-harm have been recorded and subject to significant event analysis in primary care since the circulation of Policy Letter 62/03 by the Director General of Army Medical Services, broken down by episodes recorded (i) in the UK, (ii) in Iraq, (iii) in Afghanistan and (iv) elsewhere overseas. [236162]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Since 2003 there have been 36 coroner-confirmed suicides in the regular Army. Of these, 26 occurred in the United Kingdom, three in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and six in other overseas locations.

Between 2003 and 2005 (the latest data compiled), during which time there were on average 111,000 serving in the Army, there have been 626 cases of deliberate self-harm by Army personnel investigated by the Royal Military Police. Of the 626 cases investigated, 426 occurred within the UK, 12 were in Iraq, two were in Afghanistan and 186 occurred in other overseas locations. The information held does not include any clinical information, thus it is not possible to differentiate between acts of deliberate self harm and attempted suicide.

The MOD plans to update the data it holds on deliberate self-harm in the first part of 2009 to include data for 2006 and 2007.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 893W

Armed Forces: Training

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the wastage rates from (a) phase 1 and (b) phase 2 training were in (i) each year since 2001 and (ii) each month since January 2008; and how many people left each category of training in each period. [235426]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information is as follows:

Wastage rates during new entry (phase 1 and 2) training

The following table details the outflow from the untrained strength to civilian life for each financial year:

Number

FY 2001-02

6,780

FY 2002-03

7,250

FY 2003-04

6,940

FY 2004-05

5,830

FY 2005-06

5,120

FY 2006-07

(1)6,290

FY 2007-08

(1)6,850

(1) Provisional

The following table details the outflow from the untrained strength to civilian life for each month:

Number

January 2008

(1)400

February 2008

(1)530

March 2008

(1)620

April 2008

(1)600

May 2008

(1)540

June 2008

(1)610

July 2008

(1)500

August 2008

(1)560

September 2008

(1)360

(1) Provisional

For numerous reasons, including instances where there is no distinction between the types of training, it is not possible to specify the separate outflow from phase 1 and phase 2 training.

The wastage rates are constantly under review and a number of initiatives are under consideration, to lower these rates without compromising the quality of outcome. Initiatives include ways to better prepare potential recruits for selection and initial training, and increasing applicants’ understanding of the military’s expectations of trainees, and the unique aspects of a service life.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the technical specifications and photographs of the Alvis Vickers Scarab vehicle as evaluated by his Department in the assessment phase of the future command and liaison vehicle competition. [237622]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Alvis Vickers Scarab was a contender vehicle for the future command and liaison Vehicle (FCLV), now known as PANTHER. Scarab was withdrawn from the procurement competition by
24 Nov 2008 : Column 894W
Alvis Vickers and consequently the MOD does not hold technical specifications or photographs resulting from its evaluation.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the technical specifications and photographs of the Glover Webb armoured patrol vehicle; [237623]

(2) how many Glover Webb armoured patrol vehicles were initially purchased; when they were purchased; when they were sold; and to whom they were sold. [237624]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Glover Webb armoured patrol vehicle (APV Mk 1) went out of service prior to the introduction of Snatch 1 in 1992. The requested information has not been retained by the Department due to the time elapsed since the APV Mk 1 left service.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many equipment failure reports there have been for Snatch Land Rovers in each year since 2005. [237805]

Mr. Quentin Davies: There has been a total of 758 equipment failure reports (EFRs) submitted on Snatch Land Rovers since 2005 as follows:

Number of EFRs

2005

297

2006

382

2007

62

2008(1)

17

Total

758

(1) To 18 November.

The equipment failure reporting system (EFRS) is the mandated system for equipment users to report failures, such as accidental damage, maintenance-related failures and breakdowns, or the failure of an item fitted to the vehicle. It does not incorporate the results of subsequent investigations and therefore does not differentiate between what might later prove to have been a problem caused by operator error or damage sustained as a result of operations. Nor do these data record the severity of a failure which might have no discernible impact on operational capability or safety.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effect the procurement of new utility vehicles announced on 29 October 2008 will have on the Future Rapid Effect System programme. [238752]

Mr. Hutton: The announcement on 29 October 2008 of our plans to provide additional protected vehicles for Afghanistan will have no effect on the requirement for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) programme. The protected vehicles are specifically procured for use on current operations, in particular in logistics and other supporting roles. FRES is intended to replace legacy armoured fighting vehicles and to meet the Army’s wider requirements for medium-weight capability able to operate across the whole spectrum of operations.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 895W

Army: Conditions of Employment

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what regulations there are on the compatibility of membership of the British National Party and service in the Army Intelligence Corps. [238891]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Under Queen’s Regulations for the Army 1975, chapter 5, part 14, regular service personnel are free to join political parties, but are not allowed to take an active part in the affairs of any political organisation, party or movement. They are not to participate in political marches or demonstrations.

Army: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of the Army failed to meet (a) harmony guidelines for tour intervals and (b) separated service guidelines in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by corps; [237809]

(2) what the average tour interval was for each Army corps in the latest period for which figures are available. [237813]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The percentage of Army units (within those corps for which we record tour interval information) failing to meet harmony guidelines, as at 20 November 2008, is 46 per cent. The breakdown is as follows:

Corps Percentage breaching harmony guidelines

Royal Artillery

55

Royal Armoured Corps

22

Infantry

50


The percentage of Army personnel failing to meet Separated Service guidelines, as at 31 December 2006, is 10.3 per cent. These are the most recent data available. It is hoped that Separate Service data will in future be produced by the Joint Personnel Administration system.

The average tour intervals for each Army corps (for which we record tour interval information), as at 20 November 2008, is as follows:

Corps Average tour interval (months)

Royal Artillery

25

Royal Armoured Corps

(1)25

Infantry

(2)23

(1) Excludes two Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) as they have not deployed as a formed unit since 2003.
(2) Excludes one and two LANCS due to their amalgamation (1 KORBR, 1 KINGS and QLR) in 2006.

The unit tour interval is a less relevant measure when applied to other corps (such as the Royal Engineers and the Royal Corps of Signals). This is due to the frequency with which personnel move between formed units within these corps (the personnel deployed with a unit will be substantially different from the personnel deployed with the same unit on a previous occasion). Unit tour interval data for these corps are not, therefore, routinely collated.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 896W

Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what budget was allocated to the Defence Nuclear Safety (DNS) Regulator in the latest period for which figures are available; how many staff are employed by the DNS Regulator; how many are field inspectors; what expertise is required to be engaged as a DNS Inspector; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the (a) skills base and (b) numbers employed by the DNS Regulator. [237106]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) has a staff of 23, comprising 20 technical staff, supported by three administrative staff. All of the 20 technical staff engage in (field) inspections and 17 of them are appointed as Inspectors. In addition to the internal manpower costs, DNSR's budget in the current year is for operating costs of £0.2 million. This internal team is supported by dedicated staff in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and from industry, for which the budget in the current year is £4.254 million (representing around 35 man years).

The competence requirements for each post are specifically identified: they include competence in nuclear technology, safety management, safety regulation and nuclear accident management. All new inspectors joining DNSR follow a training programme, and their competence is formally assessed before they receive delegated authority. The level of skill and numbers required to effectively regulate the defence nuclear programmes is reviewed annually by the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board (DNESB) Chairman, taking account of views of DNESB members and the representatives of the HSE Nuclear Directorate, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency who attend the DNESB. This is also considered by the independent Defence Nuclear Safety Committee, who separately advise the Secretary of State for Defence.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which United Kingdom military airframes (a) have been used and (b) are planned to be used in connection with operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and if he will make a statement. [236994]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 18 November 2008]: There have been no UK military aircraft used in connection with operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the recent increases in violence began in the east. At present, MOD has no plans to perform any operations related to the current surge in violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; we are therefore not planning on using any United Kingdom military airframes of any type in the country.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what countries have contributed to the UN force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and how many troops each has provided. [238458]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is available at:

and is updated on a regular basis.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 897W

Departmental Catering

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether food and drink on sale to staff of (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies at official premises is subsidised from public funds. [237414]

Mr. Kevan Jones: There is no subsidy of prices for food and drink on sale to staff.

Departmental ICT

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) memory sticks, (b) laptop computers, (c) desktop computers, (d) hard drives and (e) mobile telephones were (i) lost by and (ii) stolen from his Department in each year since 1997. [234088]

Mr. Kevan Jones: As part of its ongoing action plan, MOD is currently undertaking censuses of all IT and digital media as recommended by the Burton report. As a result, some adjustment of historic figures previously reported is expected. However, we take any loss of media storage devices very seriously. We have put in place revised, robust procedures. New processes, instructions and technological aids are also being implemented to mitigate human errors and raise awareness of every individual in the Department.

No centralised records were maintained prior to 2003 and are not therefore available. Figures from 2003 will continue to be adjusted to incorporate subsequent recoveries of items, the reporting of additional thefts and losses and subsequent clarification of historic incidents. The following figures reflect the latest data held as at 5 November 2008.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 898W

Lost Stolen

(a) Figures for memory sticks

2003

0

0

2004

0

27

2005

0

2

2006

2

56

2007

8

1

2008(1)

59

6

(b) Figures for laptop computers

2003

27

135

2004

22

272

2005

18

130

2006

27

170

2007

22

101

2008(1)

62

58

(c) Figures for desktop computers

2003

1

45

2004

0

38

2005

0

25

2006

0

28

2007

2

13

2008(1)

4

8

(d) Figures for hard drives

2003

4

5

2004

7

18

2005

12

2

2006

42

5

2007

8

1

2008(1)

72

2

(1) Up to 5 November 2008

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