HL Deb 20 February 2003 vol 644 cc195-6WA
Earl Attlee

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why, in a period of heightened tension, it is possible for protestors or anyone else, to gain unauthorised access to Marchwood military port. [HL1531]

Lord Bach

The security of all Ministry of Defence establishments is kept under constant revieWAnd is enhanced as necessary. It would not be realistic to attempt to secure the very extensive outer perimeters of any MoD site to a level that would guarantee that it could never be penetrated, or exclude the possibility of material damage in a non-sensitive area. We rely on defence in depth, priority being given to the protection of life and to those assets critical to the delivery of defence capability.

The measures in place at Marchwood military port were commensurate with the threat posed by the demonstrators in that there was no loss or compromise of MoD equipment in transit and no injuries, either to authorised personnel or to the demonstrators. In all cases where protestors had put themselves at risk by chaining themselves to equipment or lodging themselves in precarious positions on or around loading ships, their safety remained paramount.

As a result of the increasing level of attempted incursions by anti-war demonstrators additional resources have been brought in to guard the Marchwood perimeter. Due to service personnel being committed to Operation Telic or Operation Fresco additional Ministry of Defence Police and MoD Guard Service personnel have been made available from other establishments.