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Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the quality of the Iraqi (a) armed forces and (b) police force based in Multi-National Division (South-East). (65442)

Regular assessments of the capability of Iraq's security forces are made as part of the process of considering the preparedness of each province for transition to Iraqi security control, including the four provinces of Multi-National Division (South-East).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department plans to take to make helicopters in Iraq safer for flight personnel. (71728)

We are continually reviewing ways of providing greater protection for all our personnel deployed on operations. For helicopters, we have identified a number of improvements to meet the specific operational conditions in Iraq; these have been, or are being, implemented through urgent operational requirement procedures. They include improvements to countermeasures, self protection, and crew and aircraft armour.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2006, Official Report, columns 181-84W, on Iraq, if he will place a copy of the eligibility criteria for the Operation TELIC medal in the Library. (73426)

Command Paper 6135 was presented to Parliament in February 2004 by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Defence and laid down the qualifying criteria for the Iraq medal for service on Operation TELIC from 20 January 2003. In accordance with standard procedures, a copy was placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of why the two Britons rescued from Basra Prison by British forces were (a) dressed as Arabs and (b) in possession of explosives at the time of their detention; and if he will make a statement. (73589)

An internal review was carried out in the wake of the events of 19 September 2005. I am withholding further details as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role UK forces have played in the (a) training and (b) operations of the Facilities Protection Service in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. (73598)

[holding answer 25 May 2006]: Coalition forces have trained some 6,650 members of the Facilities Protection Service (FPS) based in Multi-National Division (South-East). The basic training course provides FPS guards with the skills that allow them to act as static security. The advanced course content varies, being structured at the discretion of FPS commanders, but frequently includes such areas as combat life support, Quick Reaction Forces, and logistics. At present, the FPS are operating at over 800 sites in Multi-National Division (South-East) on behalf of 22 Ministries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers prescribed medication for psychological problems have been posted back to active service in Iraq. (73741)

[holding answer 25 May 2006]: We are aware of a very small number of cases where service personnel deployed to Iraq have been prescribed medication for a psychological illness; however, precise figures are not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.