Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
240. When is the line crossed, when you run
out of ammunition?
(Mr Clarke) No, not all. Those establishments where
the police and military work very close together, Faslane is one
that comes to mind, it is a case of, if you like, MDP take the
first attack then it is very much heads down because the military
are able to deploy very quickly thereafter.
(Mr Cochrane) There are Royal Marines deployed there
permanently in response and when an incident develops, with people
using firearms with intent to, I do not know, make off with a
deterrent or damage a critical facility then that would become
a military situation and the marines would respond and take over
the situation or at least contain the situation pending the follow
up action. In those circumstances there are military on the spot
who are trained in that specific role to take military action.
Chairman: Was there a report on that?
Mr Hancock: It is going to one of the
meetings of the Council of Europe on Security and it is going
to be developed further and it will be available in the summer.
241. The French have a more relaxed attitude
about soldiers on the street than we do.
(Ms Craig) That goes way beyond our responsibilities
here, that is really a 13 February issue.
Chairman: We would love to see that report.
242. You have already mentioned, you touched
on it, in terms of the various states, you have answered some
of the points I was going to ask about in terms of different states
of Black Special and Amber, I want to touch on how prepared we
are in terms of the actual systems that are in place. I refer
to page 40 of your useful document which you sent us, which says,
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(Ms Craig) ***
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(Mr Cochrane) To answer the cost question, as an example
the guarding bill, when I talk about the cost of the guarding
bill, I am talking the cost of about civilian guards, of moving
from Black Special to Amber whic was an increase of about 20 per
cent to 30 per cent on a normal guarding bill for instance. To
make the point, guarding costs are extremely high. A core function
of the MDP is providing armed security and their manpower costs,
much of which is put into the armed guarding MoD establishments,
£151 million a year. MGS costs us £80 million a year,
commercial guard forces £6 million a year. Clearly for a
limited period of Amber what comes into play then is overtime
costs for the civilian personnel
247. What has been the increase, for example,
on Black Special since September 11? This relates to Mr Hancock's
earlier question, where does it come from in terms of the extra
(Mr Cochrane) The extra MDP cash
(Mr Clarke) The specifics for the MDP, post 11 September,
the increased alert status and also maintaining American assets
has cost £1 million.
(Mr Clarke) £1 million extra. That has been by
paying police in over time.
(Ms Craig) We will let you have a note on that.
249. Are they going to adjust your budgets year-on-year
(Mr Cochrane) That is being met by the centre.
250. The final question is in terms of risk
to home land, you obviously recognise the risk to United Kingdom
bases overseas, what increased security has taken place there?
How willing have local security or policing forces been, for example,
in Cyprus or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia?
(Mr Cochrane) That increased cost for the MDP, some
of it, predates 11 September and was driven by the Menwith Hill
incident in July when, you will remember, people dressed up as
space ships and made us look rather silly. That has incurred significant
costs at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales and we are in the process
of reviewing the security arrangements at all sites used by US
visiting forces. That is really to take account of the potential
protest from anti-missile defence protestors. Since 11 September
that has also caused a review of those places of the counter terrorist
251. Who will pay for that?
(Mr Cochrane) Generally speaking the Americans will
pick up the bill.
252. The role of the MoD Police in protecting
the AmericansI assume the Americans have their own police
protecting themselvesare our people there to keep British
citizens away from 6ft 6" military police or are they actually
physically protecting the premises?
(Mr Clarke) Our role is to be the interface and the
public presence of a policing role responsibility with the public.
That is our role. If you see that as keeping the Americans a little
bit at bay I suppose there is some of that too. It is the appropriateness
of what the policing response is. It is British police officers
who are facing the public.
253. They have robust rules of engagement which
the British public need to be protected against, you are as much
protecting the British public as the American Armed Forces I would
(Mr Clarke) It has worked very well so far and the
discussions between ourselves, local chief constables and the
Americans in the United Kingdom has been a little robust at times,
but it has worked very effectively.
(Mr Cochrane) The question about overseas security,
one of the TLBs referred to earlier, belongs to the Commander
of Joint Operations whose headquarters are in Northwood. He is
responsible both for the overseas bases such as they are, but
also for the conduct of joint operations overseas. As owner of
that responsibility he carries the responsibility for the security
risk. In common with all other TLBs, the Permanent Joint Head
Quarters (PJHQ), receives terrorist intelligence as disseminated
by us and the security services. They have a system which is essentially
the same as the Bikini Alert system and uses the same terms applied
to permanent bases overseas. The difference overseas is that whereas
at home, central government, with our involvement, directs the
alert state that applies across government, overseas that is the
responsibility of the Commander concerned, as delegated to him
by CJO. The system is the same, he is seeing the same intelligence,
better intelligence, more specific on the local threat that he
faces, as we are, and the decision on the alert state to be adopted
and specific countermeasures required are advised as necessary
by local intelligence and liaison with the host nation.
254. Is it down to him to do that co-operation
and liaise with the local security forces?
(Mr Cochrane) Yes. There will be liaison at his level
255. In all my time in the MoD I can only remember
Red Alert once, and that was when Bobby Sands died. Portsmouth
as a city came to a direct standstill because the infrastructure
of the city came to a standstill, with the gates of the dockyard
being locked and all of the vehicles outside. There was threats
at that time several years ago of litigation, legal claims for
loss of income from businesses, et cetera, and we have never had
one since, presumably the red states are on direct evidence that
something is going to happen and it could not be deflected by
any economic attitude at all or pressure from any other source?
(Ms Craig) As you say, Mr Rapson, it is extremely
rare and I have never been aware of one, I am surprised that you
have. If it happens it happens.
256. There is nothing you can do.
(Ms Craig) We take the measures.
257. I have two questions, one, in terms of
the involvement of the Ministry of Defence Police overseas involved
in peacekeeping operations like, for instance, MDP officers in
Pristina, has that been reviewed or changed at all since 11 September?
Number two, picking up on what you were saying, Mr Cochrane, about
serious intelligence, I wonder whether you would like to comment
at all on whether it is still considered it was serious intelligence
that engaged us and that involved us in actually boarding the
Nisha and can you comment on any lessons learned from that?
(Mr Clarke) If I can take the first one, in respect
of a deployment of MDPs officer overseas nothing has changed post
11 September, we planned that commitment and we can maintain that
commitment in terms of resources employed in the United Kingdom
and there is nothing that they need to be doing any different
post 11 September, that is all commanded out in Kosovo. That is
the answer to the first one.
(Mr Cochrane) The answer to the Nisha is that is really
a matter that ought to be brought up on 13 February, it is really
a matter concerned with our support at Home Office request for
an incident. Yes, I can say that it was based on specific intelligence.
Chairman: Perhaps you can drop us a
note on what your guys and women, no doubt, have learned out in
Pristina in terms of the kind of policing they are engaged in
and whether any lessons can be transferred back to the United
Kingdom? There is no desperate rush for that, but it would be
258. Can I ask one further question about the
Red Alert, obviously I remember the Red Alert in Portsmouth but
I was involved in a second one, which was a Red Alert when the
Price sisters were convicted in Winchester of the IRA bombings,
there was a Red Alert there. There was a big problem on that day
and the aftermath there was there was a problem between the police
and the army, because there was an army presence on the streets
in Winchester on that occasion. The trial took place in Winchester
because the girls were held in Winchester Prison and one of the
reasons for having it there was the ability of the army to be
close and there was a determined threat, a suspicious threat.
The strange thing was the then Chief Constable, Douglas Osmond,
who had been doing an inquiry into the RUC in Ireland at the time,
had been kept out of the loop, it would have appeared, when the
status changed. I am interested to know when the determination
has been made to up the status how that goes through the chain
of command? I remember the aftermath of that, there were a number
of red faces about who had been informed and who was barred.
(Mr Cochrane) As I said before, generally speaking
the decision to raise the alert state is taken centrally and if
there is time it is discussed in a Cabinet Office Committee, at
which the MoD is represented. If there is no time, because of
the need to act on pressing intelligence, the executive order
is issued normally from the Cabinet Office. In the case of the
MoD one of my directorate's responsibilities is to ensure that
when we receive notification of an alert state change, be it whatever
time, day or night, when it happens we have the capability to
disseminate that down through the chain of command and it goes
down to the equivalent of garrison, major RAF stations/bases in
the form of a signal and normally with some explanation of why,
as far as we are able to give it, at a restricted level normally,
the change has been ordered and any special instructions that
need to apply in terms of countermeasures. That is put out as
a signal and is instantly available, really, within a matter of
an hour, or so. Because people down to a local level understand
what drills need to be carried out, what needs to be taken on
a change of alert state, it should happen immediately. The kind
of situation you describe, really, should not arise, the system
should not allow that to arise within MoD.
259. It was unpredictable, they did not know
when the jury were going to make a decision. You have answered
the first part of the question about your role policing non-MoD
sites in United Kingdom bases and you made a substantial sum in
doing that, your latest figure is £22 million was assimilated
by your organisation for external policing. The question really
relates to the risk assessment of those sites where the MoD are
not particularly directly involved but where it is in the national
interest to have a sizeable police presence there. How is that
done? Who makes that decision? What involvement is there with
you to playing a role in determining whether or not that is seen
as a strategic national resource which has to be protected?
(Mr Clarke) The extreme example would be the deployment
of MDP officers at the Royal Mint, that is the extreme example.
It has nothing to do with the MoD, but it is seen as a strategic
asset for the United Kingdom and it has been deemed appropriate
that MDP officers can carry out that task, which is a role for
armed police officers, it is armed and unarmed. A risk assessment
is done and it has been considered appropriate that MDP should
provide that service and it is the subject of a customer supplier
agreement specifically with the Royal Mint, and that is on repayment.
10 See Appendix 1 p 63. Back
See Appendix 1 p 63. Back