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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 518W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, whether the members of the former Serious Crimes Unit of the Basra Police were ever in the custody of UK forces; and what information he has regarding their current location. (201957)

Some members of the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) have been held in the custody of UK forces in Iraq, although we have no reason to believe that these included any of the individuals against whom arrest warrants have been issued. Those SCU members previously held by UK forces have now been released, as our in-theatre review process concluded that their internment was no longer deemed necessary for imperative reasons of security.

I am withholding information relating to the current location of former members of the SCU as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. (205288)

As I explained in my statement of 24 April 2008, Official Report, column 107WS, UK force levels in southern Iraq will stay at around 4,000 following Iraqi-led operations to enforce the rule of law in Basra, and while military commanders continue to assess the changing situation on the ground. It remains our clear intention to reduce troop numbers in Iraq as and when conditions allow.