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Concern in UK over cuts to police who guard nuclear weapons

Cuts to police who guard nuclear weapons could be ‘catastrophic’ It is claimed national security could be compromised as fewer firearms officers would be available for an emergency. Further cuts planned for the police force which guards the UK’s nuclear arsenal could be “catastrophic”, according to a leading police officer.

The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) guards the country’s Trident nuclear deterrent, among other responsibilities.

The force is already understaffed with about 2,300 officers, according to the Defence Police Federation (DPF).

DPF chairman Eamon Keating will use a speech later to warn that plans to “reset” its strength to below that level will “harm national security”.

The MDP’s officers are all trained to use firearms and Mr Keating says cutting numbers means fewer available to help in a national emergency as part of Operation Temperer.

Temperer kicked in after the Manchester terror attack, when the threat risk was deemed critical. In that case, the military were deployed to help police.

“After a decade of budget and personnel cuts, it beggars belief the MoD would demand a further £12.5m from the police force entrusted with guarding Trident,” Mr Keating will tell the DPF’s annual conference.

“This ‘reset’ is an ill-considered decision that prioritises cost over security, and makes no sense given the financial value of the assets we protect,” Mr Keating will say.

Just a year ago the MDP had 2,600 officers – that was already a third down on previous levels after budget cuts in 2010.

The federation will also demand more detail on Conservative manifesto plans for an “Infrastructure Policing Force” by merging the MDP, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and British Transport Police.

Mr Keating will add: “The Government must urgently rethink this catastrophic decision that further undermines police officers hamstrung by fitness tests inappropriate to the job they do, and a pension age different to the Home Office and Armed Forces.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We are confident that the strength of our force keeps our people, sites and equipment safe.

“It also enables us to play our part in protecting the public, as we did when we supported the armed police response to the tragic events in Manchester last month.”

June 16, 2017 - Posted by | safety, UK

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