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Parliamentary and Political Monitoring Report w/c 30th April 2018

By DPF Admin9th May 2018August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary on Sunday in the wake of the Windrush Scandal. In her resignation letter she conceded that she had “inadvertently misled” MPs when giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, during which she had said she was unaware of any Home Office targets for removing illegal migrants. However, in a leaked letter from January 2017 that Rudd sent to the Prime Minister it transpires she committed to a 10% higher target than her predecessor achieved.

Ms Rudd has been replaced with Sajid Javid, who has made efforts to separate himself from his predecessor by saying that he is “angry too” at the treatment of the Windrush generation. He has also tipped the balance in the Cabinet. The first cabinet meeting since Ms Rudd’s resignation ended in MPs blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans regarding the Customs Union in Brexit negotiations. Mr Javid has been replaced as the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary by James Brokenshire, who stepped down as Northern Ireland Secretary in January due to illness.


·     MDP officer fitness test results reported on

·     Former Defence Minister has questions answered about the MDP

·     Police numbers fallto lowest for nine years

·     Bill giving protection to emergency workers passes second reading in parliament

·     Sir Simon Bollom appointed Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support

MDP officer fitness test results reported on

TheMail on Sunday has reported this week on the fitness test results of MDP officers as outlined in the MDP Committee’s Annual Report for 2016-17. The newspaper reported specifically on fitness testing figures included within the Committee’s annual report, highlighting issues in which officers (including those on long-term sickness absence) had not met required assessment standards. The article also highlighted the pressure on the MDP’s resources, while quoting former MDP Committee Chairman David Riddle’s foreword in the report in which he expressed concern over potentially increasing levels of sickness absence.

Defence Select Committee member and SNP MP Leo Docherty was quoted by the Mail on Sunday, calling the report “very alarming” and that MDP officers “have a crucial role in protecting our national infrastructure and need to be fit.” Fellow Defence Select Committee member and former minister with responsibility for the MDP, Mark Francois, said: “‘The MoD Police play an important role in our national defence. It is very important that the officers are fit and capable of carrying out a full range of duties.”

DPF Chairman Eamon Keating, responding to a request for comment from the newspaper, highlighted that fitness assessments has been introduced within the MDP within recent years; also noting the move from a bespoke assessment developed by the Institute for Naval Medicine to College of Policing assessments that do not reflect the role of MDP officers and the weight of equipment they carry. Mr Keating also highlighted the importance of responsible management of sickness absence in the MDP, given the need for officers to perform firearms duties.

This article was subsequently replicated in publications such as The Times, and Police Oracle.

The DPF, as noted above, was approached for comment by the Mail on Sunday, which has committed to reporting on the MDP Committee’s annual report. In responding to this request and those of other journalists, the Federation has highlighted the figures from the MDP Committee report are aged and that 100 percent of officers have engaged with fitness testing, with 98 percent of those assessed meeting the requirements for their role. We are also working to secure meetings with both Mark Francois and Leo Docherty.

Former Defence Minister has questions answered about the MDP

A former Defence Minister with responsibility for the MDP, Labour’s Kevan Jones, has tabled a number of questions relating to the DPF’s concerns and the working conditions of MDP officers. 

Mr Jones asked, “which critical national infrastructure sites the Ministry of Defence Police provides civil policing and armed security for.” The following day, Mr Jones asked “which UK (a) facilities, (b) property and (c) sites classed as critical national infrastructure have protective security ensured by the Ministry of Defence Police.” Mr Jones successor, Defence Minister for Armed Forces people and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood, responded to both questions saying that the MDP “provide policing and armed security across a wide range of sites, including some that are classed as critical national infrastructure. I am withholding the locations and names of the critical national infrastructure sites for the purpose of safeguarding national security.” 

Mr Jones also asked what estimates the MoD has made “of the savings that need to be accrued by his Department's (a) Head Office and (b) Corporate Services in relation to the work of the Ministry of Defence Police.” Mr Ellwood has given a holding reply pending the collation of the information.

Mr Jones tabled a follow-up question to the answer he received in February outlining the size of the MDP workforce, asking “what the (a) agreed size of the Ministry of Defence Police complement and (b) the actual number of officers employed by the Ministry of Defence Police was in each year since 2010.” Mr Ellwood provided the below table, citing figures at 31stMarch each year.

31 March




Not available within timescale









































Mr Jones tabled further questions this week, in which he asked whether the MoD had any plans to remove MDP presence form any of the UK facilities, property or sites which to-date have had their “protective security.” Mr Jones asked what steps are being taken “to maintain MDP armed policing capacity” and also whether there has been consideration of “additional investment in police counter-terrorism capability for the MDP.”

Mr Ellwood said: “The safety and security of the Defence Estate continues to be of the utmost importance. There are many ways this is achieved, including the vital role provided by the MDP. The deployment of MDP resources is kept under constant review. This ensures our policing resources are deployed where they are most needed. We continue to fully safeguard all of our sites and would never contemplate changes that would place these in jeopardy. We are confident that the current strength of the force, together with other security provision is sufficient to counter the threats we face. The MDP continues to focus on delivering its specialist policing services efficiently and effectively within its allocated budget. The MoD remains committed to supporting the national Counter-Terrorism response. The MDP have deployed significant numbers of armed officers followed the activation of OPERATION TEMPERER.”

Mr Jones tabled these questions shortly after meeting with DPF Chairman Eamon Keating, in which Eamon briefed Mr Jones on the ongoing concerns of the DPF relating to security of MoD establishments. The Federation is grateful to Mr Jones for tabling these questions as a means of highlighting to parliamentarians the pressure on the MDP and its officers. While the Government has declined to publicly note this pressure on resources, the responses of the Minister will support the Federation’s political engagement following submissions to the MoD and Defence Select Committee on the Modernising Defence Programme. 

Police numbers fall to lowest for nine years

The Scottish Herald has reported on police officer figures north of the border are at their lowest level for nine years. In the first three months of 2018, there were the equivalent of 17,170 Police Scotland officers which is the lowest number since 2009. Officer numbers have been steadily increasing as the SNP-led Holyrood has committed to putting 1,000 extra police on the streets, a pledge they dropped in 2016.  

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said that frontline policing standards were being maintained as staff were being freed up from back office roles, and noted that there were still significantly more police on the streets of Scotland than when the SNP came to power in 2007, at which point there had been 16,265 officers. 

Bill giving protection to emergency workers passes second reading in parliament

Labour MP Chris Bryant’s Private Members’ Bill, Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences), passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons last week after it secured Government support. The Bill seeks to double the maximum sentence for assaults against 999 staff from six months to a year. Rory Stewart, the Justice Minister speaking on behalf of the Government, called assaults on emergency workers an “attack on the public.” The Bill covers police officers and prison workers, fire fighters, search and rescue volunteers and NHS workers, as well as anyone assisting them in an emergency. The Bill has since received its first reading in the House of Lords, and will now be subject to debate there. 

DPF supporter of the DPF and Labour MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch, has been instrumental in the Bill progressing, and Mr Bryant said that “This Bill very much started with her.” Ms Lynch shared stories she had heard of emergency service workers being assaulted while trying to carry out their job protecting the public, and has helped the campaign #protecttheprotectors. 

To support the third reading of the Bill, Mr Bryant wrote in The Timesthat the Bill was simultaneously “a practical matter” and “a moral point” and highlights that he has added an amendment to the Bill so that it covers sexual assaults. 

DPF Chairman Eamon Keating met with Ms Lynch, who had also attended the DPF’s parliamentary reception in December, and he highlighted the experiences of MDP officers facing threatening members of the public. 

Sir Simon Bollom appointed Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced this week that Air Marshal Sir Simon Bollom will be the new Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support. Having been in the RAF between 1981 and 2016, Sir Simon started working in the MoD in 2000 and joined the Defence Equipment and Support team mid-January 2008. In 2011, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) and in 2016 was appointed a Knight of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). He will take up the role on 21st May, and was appointed following “an external recruitment competition.” His new role includes responsibility for the MoD’s £15bn a year procurement and support budget.

Sir Simon is replacing Tony Douglas, who was noted as the highest-paid official in the British Government being paid approximately £500,000, and who stepped down after only two years in the role. His departure came as the extent of the MoD’s funding crisis became apparent and The Times quoted that he was leaving the Department “in chaos.” 

Commenting on the news, Permanent Secretary to the MoD Stephen Lovegrove welcomed Sir Simon saying, “His previous roles, as Chief of Materiel (Air) and more recently Chief of Materiel (Ships), means that he will bring to the role a deep understanding and knowledge of DE&S and its business. I wish him every success.” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “DE&S is responsible for delivering the substantial, complex and demanding Equipment Programme. I am delighted that Simon has been appointed to this role. I look forward to working with him on the organisation’s important task of driving performance in the supply chain, building capability to support our armed forces and delivering value for the taxpayer.”


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