§ Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the personal safety of individual members of the Ulster Defence Regiment while off duty; and if he will revise the rules with regard to their possession of weapons.
A number of steps are taken to try and minimise risks to off-duty UDR members. Considerable emphasis is placed on the individual's own security awareness. For those soldiers at particular risk when off duty a number of specific measures may also be applied. These range from the mounting of security force patrols in the area concerned to the provision of physical security protection. Included in the latter is the issue of personal protection weapons where the threat warrants this.
§ Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ulster Defence Regiment bases there were in 1979, 1980 and 1981; what is the present number; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wiggin
The number of UDR bases at 1 January 1979, 1 January 1980 and 1 January 1981 was 41, 40 and 34 respectively. The number at 9 February 1982 was 32.
The closures have been effected to make the best use of manpower resources by releasing soldiers, previously engaged in static guarding and administrative duties, for operational tasks. This reflects the wider responsibilities being given to the UDR throughout the Province, as they provide support for the RUC in an increasing number of areas.