HL Deb 02 April 1985 vol 462 c119

2.48 p.m.

Lord Inglewood

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are taken to train police officers of all ranks with regard to their responsibilities in the event of conventional air attack upon the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Glenarthur)

My Lords, police war duties training already takes account of the effects of conventional air attack as advised by the Home Office. In addition to courses run by the police themselves, at both force and regional level, senior officers may attend seminars and courses at the Civil Defence College.

Lord Inglewood

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very satisfactory Answer. I should like to ask him whether he can confirm that these are not just paper plans, but that there are real things happening in this training. Further, will he confirm that, where there are no special confidential issues, the police can be an integral part of the whole plan, and not just have their own special plans?

Lord Glenarthur

Yes, my Lords. The Home Office and the staff officers to the regional police commanders regularly review the content of police civil defence training courses and the advice in the Emergency Services Circular No. 4 of 1979, as revised in 1983, to include the effects of conventional attack.

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, can the noble Lord enlighten us about the "real things" which are said to be happening in this field? This fills some of us with a certain amount of alarm and despondency.

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, the noble and learned Lord need not feel alarmed or despondent; these are prudent measures to take.

Lord Gladwyn

My Lords, might it not be preferable for the Government to consider the constitution of some kind of home guard to cope with such emergencies; and should they not consider also the possibility of a parachute attack on these islands?

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, there is of course the Home Service Force, but I think the noble Lord's question goes wide of the Question on the Order Paper.