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Written Statements

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Defence

Defence Technical Training Change Programme

The Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Fallon): The Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT) delivers training and education to engineers and technicians from all three services, at schools located at Ministry of Defence (MOD) Lyneham, Blandford Garrison, RAF Cosford, HMS Sultan at Gosport and MOD St Athan. The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) schools are due to move shortly from Bordon and Arborfield to MOD Lyneham, under tranche 1 of the defence technical training change programme (DTTCP).

The DTTCP was established to take forward one of the key outcomes from the defence training review, the need to transform the way technical training is delivered to the armed forces. It is also seeking ways to rationalise the training estate in line with defence objectives; reduce the military manpower involved in the delivery of training; reduce the time taken for personnel to be trained, and maintain training to the standards required by all three services.

Due to the enormity of the task we planned to implement training transformation in a phased manner, split into a series of tranches, the first being the relocation of the REME schools from Bordon and Arborfield to MOD Lyneham. For the subsequent tranches of the programme, the original intent was to consolidate additional elements of the DCTT at MOD Lyneham. However, a recently completed re-evaluation of the programme has determined that the consolidation onto a single site at MOD Lyneham is not the best solution.

The revised DTTCP will result in the Defence School of Marine Engineering and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School remaining at HMS Sultan. It will also see No. 1 School of Technical Training, the Aeronautical Engineering and Management Training School and the No. 1 Radio School remaining at RAF Cosford and subject to further work, these schools will be joined at RAF Cosford by No. 4 School of Technical Training from MOD St Athan.

The future location of the Royal School of Signals, currently based at Blandford Garrison, is being assessed as part of the footprint strategy work to establish a more effective use of the defence estate in support of military capability. This will report during 2016.

The school commandants at each site have informed their service personnel, civil servants and contractors of these plans. The trade unions have been briefed.

The resetting of the DTTCP will not affect the rebasing of the REME schools to MOD Lyneham.

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Home Department

Police Reform

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The historic office of constable is at the very heart of the policing of England and Wales.

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Police officers across the country carry out a wide range of duties, keeping the public safe and ensuring justice for the most vulnerable members of society. We value the essential role they play, but they cannot do this on their own. Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and other designated police staff have played a key role in policing our communities in recent years and we believe that they should play a greater role in the future.

Volunteers also play a vital role in community safety. Since 1831, special constables have taken many of the same risks as full-time police officers, for no reward other than the satisfaction of playing their part in keeping their communities safe from crime. In recent years, police support volunteers have also played an important part of policing in such roles as manning police enquiry desks or giving crime prevention advice. But there is an anomaly. Volunteers can either have all of the powers of the constable, as a special; or have none of the powers, as a police support volunteer. They cannot take on roles such as community support officers. Enabling volunteers to be designated with powers in the same way as staff would enable them to work more closely with their policing colleagues to support forces in keeping their communities safe.

There is more that both police staff and volunteers can do, bringing new skills and expertise to police forces, freeing up police officers to concentrate on the core policing task that most requires their particular powers and experience. This Government want to encourage those with skills in particular demand, such as those with specialist IT or accountancy skills, to get involved and help the police to investigate cyber or financial crime and, as their experience grows, to enable them to play a greater part in investigations. We want to help the police to make further progress on the use of cyber-specials.

I am today publishing a consultation paper setting out a set of reforms to address these challenges. We will, for the first time, underline the office of constable at the centre of policing in England and Wales by setting out in a single piece of legislation the core list of powers that will only be available to police officers. Beyond these core powers, we will also give police forces a more flexible workforce, enabling police officers to focus on the most important roles; roles that only they can carry out. We will therefore, subject to key safeguards, enable chief officers to designate other police powers to staff. And we will allow volunteers to take on the same range of powers as designated staff.

These reforms will help this Government to finish the job of police reform, taking further the process started in the Police Reform Act 2002, which first introduced the PCSO role and the concept that police staff, as well as police officers, could have enforcement powers. The proposals included in this consultation are summarised below; further details are set out in the consultation document:

enabling chief officers to designate a wider range of powers on police staff and volunteers;

creating a list of “core” police powers that would remain exclusive to police officers;

taking an order-making power to enable Parliament to add to the list of those “core” powers;

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enabling volunteers to be designated with powers in the same way as staff; and

abolishing the office of traffic warden under the Road Traffic Acts.

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The consultation document is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/hocons; the closing date for responses is 31 October 2015.

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