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Ulster Defence Regiment

Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will publish figures showing the extent to which the planned expansion of the full-time element of the Ulster Defence Regiment has been completed; and what further expansion of this element has been decided since the beginning of the recent strike.

Following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 17th December last year, action was set in hand to increase the number of full-time members of the UDR by 200 and to form full-time platoons to provide the UDR with a daytime operational capability. During the first four months of this year the strength of the full-time element increased by 61, and five full-time platoons became operational. These platoons are made up of existing full-time staff who transferred from other duties, part-time staff who transferred to full-time duties, and new recruits. A sixth full-time platoon is now being formed. The timing of a further expansion is under consideration.