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Raf Fairford

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances use of deadly force will be sanctioned at RAF Fairford; [108785](2) if he will make a statement on the notices posted on the fences around RAF Fairford stating that use of deadly force is authorised. [108784]

The notices are necessary to warn individuals that unauthorised entry into the inner area of the base is not permitted. They are displayed on a temporary internal security fence enclosing a much smaller area where aircraft are parked. The notices do not purport to be a statement of the law.The reference to the authorisation of deadly force on the notice does not amount to a blanket pre-authorisation. It is US practice, in relation to specially sensitive areas, to draw attention to what is implicit whenever armed personnel (US or British) are deployed to guard military installations in the UK, namely that they are authorised to use lethal force in circumstances where it is lawful.It is not our practice to disclose details of Rules of Engagement for reasons of operational security. I am therefore withholding the information in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.