Bomb Disposal: Northern Ireland
Vernon Coaker (Gedling, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what recent assessment he has made of the speed and coverage of response to bomb incidents by ammunition technical officers in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many times ammunition technical officers were called out in Northern Ireland in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012 to date; and if he will make a statement;
(3) how many ammunition technical officers were deployed in Northern Ireland in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012; how many he expects to be deployed in Northern Ireland in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014 and (iii) 2015; and if he will make a statement.
Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
Response times to bomb incidents in Northern Ireland are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However the Explosive Ordnance Device teams in Northern Ireland have responded with great professionalism over the years to all requests for assistance. We will continue to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the most operationally effective way using the defence and police estate as necessary.
The number of incidents to which Ammunition Technical Officers were called in Northern Ireland is shown in the following table. The figures represent the total number of times officers were called out and are rounded to the nearest 10.
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I am withholding the numbers of Ammunition Technical Officers deployed in Northern Ireland as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.