HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1615W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to bring forward legislation to introduce a regulatory regime for private military companies. [188354]

Mr. Rammell

There is an important and legitimate role for the private sector in providing security in post-conflict situations, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. National armed forces do not always have the capacity to provide security to the international community's reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in these difficult security situations.

The growth in the size and importance of the UK private security industry operating overseas strengthens the case for regulation of this sector. Developing such regulation is a complex undertaking, as set out in the Government's Green Paper "Private Military Companies", published on 12 February 2002. There are a number of difficult questions of definition in deciding how to approach such regulation. The cost of regulation is also potentially high, for both Government and industry.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has instituted a further detailed review of options for regulation over the next few months The Government will keep Parliament fully informed of its thinking in this area.

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