HC Deb 18 March 1976 vol 907 cc1527-8
10. Mr. Carson

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he is satisfied with the standard of weapons and equipment supplied to the RUC in their fight against the terrorists.

Mr. Moyle

The assessment of RUC operational needs for weapons and other equipment is a matter for the Chief Constable and the Police Authority. I am satisfied that adequate arrangements exist for the provision of all necessary equipment.

Mr. Carson

Does the Secretary agree that if, in his own words, the RUC gradually takes over security in Northern Ireland, it will require weapons equivalent to those of the British Army? Is the hon. Gentleman also aware that the vehicles that are being used in the RUC are classed as suicide vehicles in Northern Ireland? Will the Minister ensure that the RUC gets the proper weapons, training and vehicles to fight terrorists and to take over full security in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Moyle

It is not for me to ensure anything. It is for the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to make out a case for any equipment he wants to the Police Authority and it is for the Police Authority to agree with him.

The whole subject of the RUC's equipment with vehicles is being looked at by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of constabulary. Already 100 vehicles have been received on account and the balance is under consideration. There is a working party on weapons and equipment and there are technical advisors to help the Chief Constable make out his case, and therefore he is in a full position to do so.

Mr. Neave

Will the Minister tell us a little more about the working party on Army and RUC co-operation? When is it likely to report and when are we likely to be told something about it? Many of us are concerned about the need for co-ordination.

Mr. Moyle

The hon. Gentleman's question lies outside the original Question. I was not referring to a working party on the co-ordination of the Army and the police. I was talking about a working party which advises the Chief Constable about the equipment for the RUC and which includes representatives of the Police Federation.