Military Assets At "Significant Risk" Amid Staff Cuts, Warns Defence Police Chief
The security of the UK's key military assets are at "significant risk" because of staffing cuts in the Ministry of Defence Police, a leading...
Trident is protected by Ministry of Defence Police.
The security of the UK's key military assets are at "significant risk" because of staffing cuts in the Ministry of Defence Police, a leading officer will claim.
Cuts to the Ministry of Defence Police - who guard military sites, assets including the Trident warheads, and personnel - has seen the workforce shrink by more than 30%.
The Chairman of the Defence Police Federation, Eamon Keating, will claim at the group's annual conference that officers in the force feel "unwanted and devalued".
Mr Keating will announce that morale
"is lower than I have ever seen it, and lower than I am aware that it has ever been".
He will also state that members are paid less than other police forces and are expected to work up to eight years longer, that there is a current staff shortfall of 200 officers and "savings rather than risk are the priority".
Mr Keating will say:
"The consequences of a successful attack on an MoD site within the UK hardly bears contemplation.
"Notwithstanding the potential - even likely - loss of life, an attack could mean the destruction or rendering unserviceable, of weapons and assets needed by our armed forces, meaning military strategy and ability to protect our nation would be compromised.
"The financial cost of an attack, particularly on those assets with a high monetary value, could severely affect the Department's budgeting for years to come and impact on the wider public finances.
"The impact such an attack would have on the public confidence and their sense of security would be seismic."
Mr Keating is also set to say that without the force, terrorists would be more easily able to spy on key sites in order to plot an attack.
Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said:
"This is an issue that I've taken up previously with the former defence secretary and I was offered no assurances about the impact that reducing the number of Ministry of Defence police officers would have on the security of key sites or whether any savings would be reinvested in the defence budget.
"The seemingly cavalier attitude of the Government towards the Ministry of Defence police and their work is extremely worrying.
"It is clear these decisions are being driven by short-term cuts and not what's best for the security of our Armed Forces and vital defence assets."
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the department would never make changes to security arrangements that would put the safety of staff and assets at risk. She added:
"The MoD Police has enough resources to meet its operational requirements.
The number of officers has increased over the last five years and we will employ a further 200 officers in the near future.
"The MoD Police does vital work to protect key sites around the UK and discussions are currently underway on the issue of pay parity."