HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 c1146W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to make service personnel aware of the provisions of the Geneva Convention. [173007]

Mr. Hoon

All Service personnel are made aware during their initial training of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions in respect of the treatment of Protected Persons (including Prisoners of War). This training is reinforced during specialist and career courses.

Before deployment on operations the Permanent Joint Headquarters directs that any capability offered by the three Services must meet the pre deployment training standards laid down in the relevant mounting instruction. This requires all personnel to undergo training in the Law of Armed Conflict; and applies equally to regular and non-regular Service personnel.

In view of the particular nature of the Army's operational role it is mandatory for its personnel to receive Law of Armed Conflict training annually. Since August 2003, the Army has implemented additional cultural training to enable commanders and units to understand the cultural and social differences of other countries. From October 2003 combat units in the Army were mandated to provide eight to 10 Senior Non Commissioned Officers trained in Prisoner of War handling, thereby providing a trained pool of instructors and specialist supervision. Those specialist elements of the Army (such as the Military Provost Staff) who are responsible for carrying out routine handling of detainees conduct further specialist training covering such aspects of their role.

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