HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 cc40-1W
Mr. Tyrie

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to maintain a military presence in each area of the UK for the purposes of(a) recruitment and (b) community support. [127246]

Mr. Ingram

For the purposes of recruitment, a military presence is maintained in each area of the United Kingdom by way of the nationwide network of Armed Forces Careers Offices and satellite recruiting offices, totalling over 130 recruiting offices. In addition all three Services' Schools and Recruiting Presentation Teams, and Ethnic Minority Recruiting and Diversity Action Teams remain highly proactive; they will continue with their full programme of visits to schools, colleges, careers fairs and exhibitions, graduate fairs, regional and local communities, youth clubs, local events exhibitions and sporting events, the length and breadth of the country.

The armed forces provide, and will continue to provide, a broad range of support across the country to the community. This includes support through a wide range of youth and educational programmes, such as Skill Force and the Army Cadet Force Outreach programme.

The Department is committed to providing military assistance to civil authorities across the country in response to emergencies—for example, the response to foot and mouth disease. Operation FRESCO, Search and Rescue, and bomb disposal. Civil Contingencies Reaction Forces (CCRFs) are also being formed in each region to enhance our ability to support the police and other authorities during civil emergencies. The CCRFs are drawn from the Armed Forces Reserves for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Reserves 'footprint' across the country matches more closely the centres of population than the footprint of the Regular forces.

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