§ 24. Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about operations in Northern Ireland.
§ 22. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the operation of the security forces in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
Operations by the Armed Services in support of the RUC, such as those I described in my reply of 15 July 1980 to my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs Davidson)—[Vol. 988, c. 504–5]—continue to be necessary. I am pleased to say that this year has seen a gradual return to normal policing, with the RUC taking full responsibility for security throughout most of the Province. This has enabled us to withdraw two emergency tour units already this year, and a further reduction, from Belfast, is planned to take place early next month. This will leave the force level in the Province at six resident units, four units on emergency tours, the 11 battalions of the UDR, together with supporting elements from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.