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2 Feb 2010 : Column 202W—continued

Special Constables and Police Community Support Officers: Recruitment

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria apply in the selection of candidates to become (a) a special constable and (b) a police community support officer. [313122]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 1 February 2010]: The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is responsible for police recruitment policy. The criteria for candidates to become a special constable are outlined in the NPIA's circular "Special Constables: Eligibility for Recruitment."

The selection criteria for police community support officers (PCSOs) are set out in the protocols for the police community support officer national recruitment standard assessment process.

I have placed copies of both documents in the House Library.

Each chief police officer is responsible for the selection method for the recruitment of special constables and PCSOs.

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether time spent (a) living abroad and (b) abroad as part of a modern languages degree course at a UK university counts against a person's application to become (i) a special constable and (ii) a police community support officer. [313123]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 1 February 2010]: The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is responsible for providing an overview on vetting policy that advises police forces to obtain satisfactory vetting checks for all applicants to a police force in England and Wales.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has issued some further detailed advice to police forces, which sits alongside the NPIA policy, to ensure there is a three-year checkable history on all applicants including citizens of the United Kingdom due to the difficulty in obtaining sufficient vetting information from abroad.

The ACPO guidelines make provisions for those who have spent time abroad for up to 12 months or for educational reasons. Ultimately it is for the police force concerned to make a decision on a case-by-case basis.

Certainly applicants who cannot be vetted, will not be appointed.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of personnel deployed to Afghanistan in the current deployment undertook individual reinforcement training rather than full collective pre-deployment training. [314471]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, no armed forces personnel deploy to operations without being fully trained for the job they are required to do. Pre-deployment training is mandatory for all personnel. The quantity and nature of this training varies between individuals and units depending on existing skill levels and the role to be filled on deployment.


2 Feb 2010 : Column 203W

Armed Forces: Discharges

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information is made available to the service personnel and Veterans Agency on individuals appearing before a medical discharge board; and if he will make a statement. [305035]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 8 December 2009]: The decision to discharge on the grounds of being medically unfit for service is taken by the relevant single service manning staff based on the recommendations of a medical board. If the limitations of continuing employment are such that personnel can no longer perform the unique requirements service in the armed forces requires then they will be discharged.

Prior to this process any individual who is considered likely to be medically discharged will be supported throughout by a designated key case worker. Furthermore, access to resettlement provision and housing advice can be initiated as well as requesting a provisional pension assessment.

A date of discharge will invariably include a period of time that allows for the completion of a resettlement package, annual and terminal leave, but the commencement of resettlement activity can be initiated as soon as it is considered likely that a discharge as a result of being medically unfit will be granted. Furthermore, where resettlement cannot be undertaken during service then post discharge resettlement can be approved which allows for activity to be undertaken up to two years after discharge. If resettlement cannot be undertaken by the individual due to medical reasons then the entitlement can be transferred to a spouse ensuring that at least one family member is able to take advantage.

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency only become more directly involved when a decision to discharge is reached. A dedicated welfare support manager, local to the individual, will be appointed and can provide practical help and guidance not only up to their discharge date but for as long as it is needed after leaving.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next plans to review the operation of the medical discharge system for members of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [305036]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 8 December 2009]: We take the responsibility for the welfare of our service personnel very seriously and keep the support we provide under continual review. There are currently no plans to review the medical boarding process or the way in which recommendations made from this process are used to determine whether a member of the armed forces is either retained, re-trained or discharged.

Armed Forces: Health Services

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel with each diagnosed condition each service medical board of survey (a) discharged and (b) retained in a reduced medical category in each year since 1997. [304875]


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Mr. Kevan Jones: The following table lists those numbers of service personnel that have been discharged as a result of being below the medical standard required for service.

Naval s ervice Army Royal Air Force

1997

386

1,062

232

1998

447

1,069

160

1999

445

1,148

178

2000

474

1,063

187

2001

397

1,034

185

2002

377

1,022

137

2003

308

998

251

2004

365

1,084

202

2005

389

1,047

207

2006

347

1,009

241

2007

332

977

227

2008

312

842

189


A detailed breakdown by category of condition has been placed in the Library of the House.

Information on those service personnel who have been awarded a permanently reduced medical employment standard but retained is not held in the format requested. Decisions on retaining, re-training or discharge are reached by the service manning authorities. However, even when a decision is made that is not to discharge- for example if the medical authorities consider that the condition will improve over time-the individual retains the right to be discharged if they feel their career will be limited. Furthermore, we continue to review those service personnel with a reduced medical employment standard and the employment limitations this may have. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to assume that all those with a permanently reduced medical employment standard would remain in that category for the remainder of their career.

Armed Forces: Libraries

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements for the provision of libraries to the armed forces are required under Queen's Regulations; and what Library services are provided. [313618]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Queen's Regulations require that Service libraries are to be established to provide a range of books and information in support of operations, education, training, personal development and recreation for members of Her Majesty's forces and entitled civilians.

Library and information services are delivered through a world-wide network. This includes: education and recreational libraries, academic libraries, defence medical libraries, technical libraries, electronic libraries as well as specialist library services that are able to provide operational support and information relating to current affairs and those of a predominantly military nature.

As with all libraries, innovative ways have been introduced to reach out to the community. For those Service Personnel, and their families, where a library is not in local reach a full postal service is available which utilises the internal postal service and is free to the user. In some cases opportunities will arise to combine our library services with those of local authorities to mutual benefit, such as at Tidworth Leisure Centre in Wiltshire.


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Departmental Contracts

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many jobs formerly undertaken by staff of his Department have been outsourced to external companies in each of the last five years; and to which companies. [314630]


2 Feb 2010 : Column 206W

Mr. Kevan Jones: The following table provides the number of MOD civilian staff only that have been transferred to external companies and organisations in each of the last five years.

Financial year 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total/headcount

MOD (core)

Transfers out due to outsourcing/privatisation

350

620

800

530

170

2,480

Trading funds

Transfers out due to outsourcing/privatisation

-

-

1,040

-

10

1,050

Total

Transfers out due to outsourcing/privatisation

350

620

1,840

530

180

3,530


MOD has outsourced and privatised a diverse range of activities in the last five years. This is reflected in the many companies and organisations that staff have transferred to. Although there has been a number of mergers and takeovers between companies in the period, based on the companies' operating name at the time, transfers have been made to:


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