HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 cc48-9WS
The Minister for Citizenship and Immigration (Beverley Hughes)

The purpose of this statement is to confirm advice to businesses and inform the House of our view on the question of whether organisations should acquire their own equipment to detect chemical, biological or radiological materials as part of their contingency plans.

The Government takes contingency planning for potential terrorist attack very seriously and is working with emergency services to ensure that they have the equipment they need to protect the public from the use of chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) materials. The Government are also ensuring that effective measures are in place to detect such substances on a routine basis, where required. Such equipment is regularly tested by independent scientists and by users in the relevant agencies, including the emergency services, to ensure that it is of the standard required. Staff are also well trained in its use.

The Government's advice is, therefore, that other organisations, including businesses, leave the demanding and potentially dangerous job of detecting CBR materials to personnel in the emergency services and responsible agencies who are professionally trained in the necessary equipment. Any business considering measures to prevent or reduce the impact of terrorism should contact the counter-terrorist security adviser in their local police force who will be able to give further advice.