Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Lost Property

Defence written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has lost any (a) computers, (b) mobile phones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other IT equipment since May 2010; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes any loss and theft of Communications and Information Systems (CIS) and associated media storage devices very seriously. We have robust procedures in place to mitigate against such occurrences and to manage such losses when they do occur. This is reflected in the level of detail we record, and our policy of including in our figures incidents when equipment may have been securely disposed of without the correct records being kept, where missing items are subsequently located and where incidents involve the loss of contractors' equipment which was being used to process Defence information.

The size and complexity of the MOD, more than 250,000 individuals operating all round the world, from permanent bases and in theatre and with frequent movement of kit between locations in support of operations, means it is almost inevitable that equipment will go missing. Our challenge remains to reduce the number of such incidents and minimise the risk of any incident resulting in the loss of information by ensuring that devices are encrypted or where this is not possible that additional security measures are in place. Processes, instructions and technological aids are being continually reviewed, revised and implemented to mitigate human errors and further raise the awareness of every individual in the Department of their vital role protecting MOD information and assets.

The following table details how many computers, mobile phones, BlackBerrys and other IT equipment have been reported lost or stolen since May 2010.

CIS asset Number
Desktop computers 99
Laptop computers (1)188
Mobile phones 18
BlackBerrys 10
Disks (CD/DVD) 194
Removable hard disk drives 72
Printers 6
Tapes (Backup) (2)150
USB memory sticks 73
Other IT(3) 135
(1) Includes 21 laptops stolen in one incident during transit in Germany and 20 laptops reported lost in another incident which have subsequently been recovered. (2) Includes 80 legacy backup tapes unaccounted for in one incident. (3 )The majority of the “Other” category refers to USB tokens but it also includes radios, 3G cards, cameras, keyboards and monitors.

For comparison, using laptops as an example, 326 were lost in 2008 and 129 in 2009.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.