HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc802-3W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding will be given to extra training of emergency services staff to deal with the possible threat from large scale terrorist attacks; and if he will make a statement. [56676]

Mr. Denham

The United Kingdom police forces have a wide range of skills and capabilities which are regularly tested and can be deployed during a terrorist incident. The ability of police forces to respond to a terrorist attack involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials is being strengthened through specialist police training.

Home Office funding is being made available in 2002–03 to meet the full running and equipment costs involved. It is not normal practice to disclose the level of funding allocated by the United Kingdom to specific counter-terrorist measures.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Milburn) that the ambulance services have improved their preparedness to respond to chemical and biological incidents. New personal protective equipment and decontamination units are currently being provided. The full training implications and its funding are still being considered by the Department of Health.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Prescott) that fire service personnel already receive training for dealing with terrorist and major incidents. Details of specific training carried out by each fire authority are not held centrally.

His Department announced in February that it was providing £53 million funding for the fire service to give further protection to the public and emergency services in the event of a major chemical, biological or radiological attack. The funding provides for equipment, vehicles, training and revenue support. The Department is continuing to consider the case for additional resources.

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