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Dover House (Security)

Volume 32: debated on Thursday 18 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is the employing authority of the security persons employed at the entrance to the Scottish Office at Dover House, Whitehall; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he is satisfied with the number of persons employed on security duty during the daytime and at night at the Scottish Office, Dover House, Whitehall; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will issue instructions to the security staff at the Scottish Office, Dover House, Whitehall, that his personal offices should be locked at all times when he is not present in the building;(4) how many persons are employed as security guards at the entrance to the Scottish Office at Dover House, Whitehall, London; and what regulations are issued to these persons regarding entry to the offices;(5) if he will set up an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the illegal entry into the offices of the Scottish Office at Dover House, Whitehall, on Thursday 11 November; and if he will make a statement;(6) what damage or interference was caused in the Scottish Office at Dover House, Whitehall, on 11 November when 14 persons illegally entered the building and gained access to his personal office.

On the evening of Thursday 11 November a group of people gained access to Dover House by the front door. They told my staff that they were staging a peaceful demonstration. The demonstrators caused no damage. When requested to leave, they made an orderly exit.

The lessons to be learnt from this regrettable incident are being taken into account in a review of security arrangements at Dover House which was already in hand when the incident happened.

During normal hours employees of the Scottish Office discharge security duties at Dover House. At all other times this work is the responsibility of the Property Services Agency. An appropriate number of staff is employed for this purpose. Their instructions, which should normally prevent unauthorised persons from entering the building, are being looked at again in the light of the incident. It would not be appropriate to give further details about these security instructions or about the disposition of security staff.