Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating has warned that cuts have jeopardised security at the Faslane and other MoD sites.

In an open letter to new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Keating has warned that security at MoD sites around the country is falling below acceptable and agreed level as a consequence of demands for savings on its civilian police force.

“Dear Mr Williamson,

I write as National Chairman of the Defence Police Federation sadly not to welcome you to the MoD and express my congratulations at your appointment, and those of the Ministry of Police officers represented by the Federation.

Instead, I must highlight the deeply concerning, and in many cases deplorable decision making that is leaving many of the UK’s critical military assets and sites at unacceptable risk of attack on our own shores.

Despite the role of the Ministry of Defence Police providing the armed security that protects assets such as the Trident nuclear deterrent, munitions sites, and HMS Queen Elizabeth while in port, it is facing budget cuts that can only be realised by reducing its number of officers. This is leaving MoD sites around the UK at serious risk, and well below agreed and acceptable levels of security and at the level of maximum risk on a daily basis.

The tragic and cowardly terrorist attacks of the last 12 months have demonstrated not only an appetite and ability for destruction amongst those who threaten our society, but also a willingness to target our most secure locations as in the case of
the attack on the Palace of Westminster. We must assume that our military establishments and assets are under threat in a way we have arguably not seen in recent generations. Yet despite this risk, decisions are being taken by MoD officials – and implemented by, among others, the senior officers of the MoD Police – that prioritise the pursuit of financial savings over the threat to our assets.

It is perhaps only a matter of time before an MoD establishment in the UK faces attack, and the reality is that continued and pernicious reductions in the capacity of the MoD Police leave it ill-equipped and understaffed to deal with such a situation.
The MoD Police faces a further reduction of 15 percent of its workforce in order to meet a demand for savings this financial year. Further financial demands will mean even fewer officers. The reduced presence of officers has been met with alarm, and
in some cases been flatly rejected, by MoD sites around the country.

Yet despite their calls for more police not less, the demands for budget reductions continue. And this has broader implications for public safety. The MoD Police is the second largest armed police contingent in the country, with more firearms officers than every constabulary in England, bar the Metropolitan Police, combined. Our officers effectively form a national firearms policing capacity,
one that is rapidly being eroded at the cost of public safety.

This Federation has sought to highlight its concerns privately to officials to no avail. We believe we would be failing in our duty to the MoD, to the Government, and to the public, by not highlighting the disturbing and increasing level of risk to our
establishments and critical defensive assets.

We urge you to consider the security levels of the MoD estate, and to ensure the decisions taken on that security are based first and foremost on the threat to them, and not on whether there are savings to be made.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. Would that be the faslane which in 1988 saw protesters enter the control room of the nuclear-armed submarine HMS Repulse while it was moored up. Protesters who I should add were freed without charge.

  2. I have several friends working in the MOD Police and the stories they tell me on how they are being treated are nothing short of disgraceful.

    Morale is very low indeed as it is in the critical infrastructure force.

    The same guys will take the fall when something bad happens because they are too tired to respond properly.

    Just another set of cuts that are unnecessary and dangerous.

  3. Most Mod sites do not have a resident MDP presence anyway, with the MDP deploying to the location as needed with Deployable Support Groups on a regional basis.
    Many garrisons only had a “UBO” uniformed beat officer.
    The MPGS also guard army and raf sites.
    I would be very surprised if, despite reductions, critical sites with a substantial MDP presence such as Aldermaston are left vulnerable.
    Technical defences like cameras, sensors, and of course petimeter fencing should remain unchanged?

  4. Daniele, I’m serving MDP and can confirm just how bad things are. My station is 25% under strength and morale across the whole force is, and has been for several years, very low. MDP stopped recruiting in 2009 in advance of cuts that were enacted in 2013. Those cuts saw a reduction of some 900 officers, CID,DCPO’s (UBO) and our surge capability were massacred. The unit i belonged to was disbanded as was the adjacent CID office. In 2012 i could walk across a corridor to speak to a CID officer in person, today i would need to travel to London (my station is in Hampshire). There are no MPGS or other armed security providers at many of the locations we Police, indeed the Army are currently cutting MPGS as well. We all hoped that after the 2013 cuts/ reset the force could move forward and regenerate, not so! Since then,for the last 3 years, the Mod have cut our budget by millions of pounds each year! We are short of several hundred officers (either vacant posts or non operational) and yet demand for our services is increasing. This is how stupid our situation is; our budget holder, HOCS, doesn’t actual use our services instead TLBs (Army, Navy etc) fund us through HOCS for their requirements. However, i believe, we are the biggest budget within HOCS so when the Mod comes asking for money from them it’s us who takes the hit. So with one hand TLBs are asking for more MDP and with the other HOCS are cutting our numbers…. utter farce! Thankfully our previous Chief (RIP Alf) was in the process of trying to get this changed before he died earlier this year. Unfortunately it may take another two years before we get a sensible budget formula. Until then, despite an unprecedented terrorist threat and rising crime rates, we will continue to struggle.

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