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Peacekeeping Operations: Private Sector

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to introduce legislation to regulate private military and security companies. (198807)

In late 2004, my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Mr. Straw) requested a review by officials of the options for the regulation of the overseas operations of private military and security companies, registered in or operating from the UK. This applies to private military and security companies operating both in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. This was to follow up on the Green Paper of 2002, ‘Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation’ and to respond to the increase in activities of private military and security companies in areas of conflict overseas.

The review was completed in mid-2005 and suggested a number of options for ways in which the industry could be better managed. The review highlighted some complex issues, particularly in designating which activities should be regulated and how this could be implemented. This issue, along with the options for more effective supervision, continues to be the subject of Ministerial correspondence and official consultation. The Government have undertaken to keep Parliament fully informed of their proposals in this area. If it is decided that regulation is appropriate, the Government will put the proposals to public consultation.