Examination of Witnesses (Questions 380-382)|
MP, IAN PEARSON
MP, RT HON
21 APRIL 2008
Q380 Mr Boswell: I took what you
said about on the job training but Bill Callaghan told us that
it was a recommendation of a previous HSE report that undergraduate
and masters programmes in university should include more training
in biosecurity and biosafety. Do you think that is something we
Ian Pearson: I think it is a very
sensible recommendation and I would be very surprised if it is
not already happening.
Q381 Mr Boswell: We have been impressed
by, or at least we have noted going round, quite a different range
of regimes for security vetting. Pirbright for example uses private
contractors. Government laboratories like the Defence Laboratory
obviously use the standard procedures which government employees
will be familiar with. Is there a case for some tidying up and
putting this all through a government vetting programme, given
that subject to particular risks at least the capacity of any
of those people to cause damage, either maliciously or through
unsatisfactory standards, is the same? Is there scope for rationalisation
in this area or at least some discussion? How do you view it?
Ian Pearson: I would be interested
to see whether the Committee strongly feels that it has a view
in this direction. Obviously when it comes to vetting of foreign
students, the major issue is one of proliferation rather than
one of security. You will be aware of the Academic Technology
Approval Scheme and how that works.
Q382 Mr Boswell: I set up its predecessor.
Ian Pearson: With regard to security
and counterterrorism, that is a matter for the Home Office and
the police. I think they are very rigorous in what they do and
the requirements that they put in place.
Chairman: On that note, can I say that
Labour Members had another pressing engagement. It was nothing
to do with the answers you were giving. They just had to be somewhere
else. I apologise on their behalf. Can I thank Dawn Primarolo,
Ian Pearson, Lord Rooker and Lord McKenzie very much indeed for
giving us their time this afternoon. Thank you very much.