Faslane ‘at risk from ter­ror at­tacks’ due to polic­ing cuts

● Warn­ing over Tri­dent se­cu­rity ● Staffing lev­els ad­e­quate says MOD

The Scotsman - - Features - By CHRIS MAR­SHALL Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

Mil­i­tary sites in­clud­ing the Faslane naval base are be­ing put an “un­ac­cept­able risk” of ter­ror at­tack due to polic­ing cuts, it has been warned.

The De­fence Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, which rep­re­sents civil­ian Min­istry of De­fence Po­lice of­fi­cers, said the force is fac­ing a cut of up to £15 mil­lion from its £167m bud­get.

In an open let­ter to new De­fence Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson, the Fed­er­a­tion said “de­plorable” de­ci­sion-mak­ing had un­der­mined those re­spon­si­ble for guard­ing the Tri­dent nu­clear de­ter­rent.

The MOD said the force had ad­e­quatenum­ber­swith­which to do its job.

The MOD Po­lice are also re­spon­si­ble for guard­ing mu­ni­tions sites and the new air­craft car­rier HMS Queen Elizabeth when in port.

Fed­er­a­tionchair­manea­mon Keat­ing said se­cu­rity at MOD sites around the coun­try was fall­ing be­low ac­cept­able and agreed lev­els.

He warned that “hard tar­gets” in­clud­ing mil­i­tary bases are at a “high risk” of ter­ror at­tack but are see­ing their po­lice pres­ence sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced.

He said: “MOD sites around the coun­try are now be­low the min­i­mum level se­cu­rity needed to pro­tect them from a ter­ror at­tack.

“They are in­stead rou­tinely run­ning at the level of max­i­mum risk as a start­ing point, mov­ing be­yond this

0 The Faslane naval base has been high­lighted as a site that could be at risk daily. We’ve seen that ter­ror­ists aren’t afraid to at­tack well-guarded sites. We must be­lieve they wouldn’t hes­i­tate to at­tack mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ments.”

He added: “The risks are ev­i­dent, yet de­ci­sions are be­ing taken by of­fi­cials that pri­ori­tise the bot­tom line over the threat to per­son­nel and as­sets that in some cases cost tens of bil­lions.

“It is en­tirely the wrong ap­proach. We have tried to make our con­cerns known pri­vately but the risk to se­cu­rity and pub­lic safety leaves us ob­li­gated to alert the Sec­re­tary of State to what is an un­ac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion.”

The Fed­er­a­tion warned the Mod’s plans would re­duce the num­ber of firearms of­fi­cers who can be de­ployed na­tion­ally to pro­tect the pub­lic in the event of a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent.

The MOD said ar­range­ments were be­ing kept un­der con­tin­ual re­view and fre­quently tested. An MOD spokesper­son said: “The MOD Po­lice has enough peo­ple to meet its com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing key sites across the coun­try.

“We take the safety and se­cu­rity of such sites very se­ri­ously and we would never put them, or the peo­ple who work within them, at risk.”

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