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Iraq: Depleted Uranium Contamination

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: So far it has been possible to offer both types of test routinely to all Op TELIC UK armed forces personnel. Forty-five personnel have been identified as carrying out activities in which there may have been a significant risk of exposure to depleted uranium. At least 70 per cent of these have been reminded post-conflict of their eligibility for the tests, and around 40 per cent have undertaken a test. Efforts
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continue to be made to remind the remainder of this group about the tests.

MoD: Computer Virus Incidents

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: Centralised Ministry of Defence records have only been available since 3 May 2002; prior to that date, individual MoD units reported such incidents directly to the cross-government unified incident reporting and alert scheme (UNIRAS). Since 3 May 2002, a total of 71 instances have been recorded of viruses and malicious programs including two of MyDoom, five of Netsky and one of Sobig. Records show that these were detected and the infection contained within a single or closely related group of sites.

The MoD organisations affected are shown as follows:
MoD OrganisationNo of Incidents
MoD Centre4
Defence Procurement Agency3
Defence Logistics Organisation2
Permanent Joint HeadquartersOne standalone Internet machine
Army18 (including six standalone)
Royal Navy14 (including three standalone)
Royal Air Force19 (including six standalone)
Other Agencies10 (including five standalone)

The total number of computer or communications systems involved amounted to 112.

The time taken to remove the malicious programs from the affected systems and restore them to normal operation ranged from hours to typically two to three days. In the case of the LOVGATE virus, complete restoration to normal operation, involving isolation and cleansing of the virus from over 4,000 workstations across some 30 sites, took four weeks.

There has been no recorded degradation to UK military readiness; the systems affected by the LOVGATE virus did not have a direct impact on operational networks. Analysis of the incidents recorded indicates that over one-third involved standalone computers or training systems. The MoD system and network infrastructure is continually monitored with defence in depth at key points to prevent cross-infection.

Civil Contingency Reaction Forces

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: All 14 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRF) have around 500 members. The MoD can mobilise CCRFs within 24 hours of a request to do so. Regional headquarters providing immediate command and control are located at:
2 South East BdeShorncliffe
49 East of England BdeChilwell
145 Home Counties BdeAldershot
43 Wessex BdeBulford
143 West Midlands BdeShrewsbury
160 Wales BdeBrecon
15 North East Bde (N)York
15 North East Bde (S)" "
42 North West Bde (N)Preston
42 North West Bde (S)" "
51 Scottish Bde
51 Scottish Bde
London Regt London
Northern Ireland Ballymena

CCRF volunteers receive five days' training per year over and above their normal reservist training. In addition, all reservists receive at least two days' training to familiarise them with civil contingency tasks and the civil authorities. The Armed Forces, including CCRFs, are also engaged in a wide range of exercises with the civil authorities at local, regional and national level.

CCRFs are just one of the ways in which the Armed Forces can support the civil authorities. Their role, if needed, would be to provide general duties support to the civil authorities, which could include reconnaissance, assistance with mass casualties, transport, and operating feeding and water points.

Community Punishment Orders

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The unit cost of a 40 hour
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Community Punishment Order will vary according to a number of factors. These include:

However, a costing exercise undertaken in 2002–03 with local probation boards indicated that the average length of an order is 116.5 hours and the average cost £2,005. The average cost of a 40 hour order—the shortest possible—is £706.

The cost of such an order can be broken down into staffing costs and scheme delivery costs.
£ per average order£ per 40-hour order
Staffing costs1,020350
Scheme delivery costs 1 1,035355
Total costs2,055706

1 Scheme delivery costs include provision of transport and equipment for work placements; staff training to ensure that the delivery of the enhanced community punishment scheme is of high quality and the tutoring of offenders in key skills as a means of increasing their employability, thereby reducing the likelihood of them reoffending.

Female Genital Mutilation

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Home Office has issued a circular about the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 to police forces and others in the criminal justice system; the Department of Health has placed articles about it in medical publications which will reach doctors and midwives throughout the country; and the Department for Education and Skills has issued guidance to social services.

The Government are also funding some of the voluntary organisations that are active in seeking to eradicate female genital mutilation in this country specifically to take forward a programme of awareness-raising activities about the Act in the practising communities. One of the organisations concerned, the Agency for Culture and Change Management, has organised some conferences to promote the Act at which myself and my honourable friend Paul Goggins will be speaking.
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