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Departmental Computers

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1225, on MOD (data loss), how many of the 347 laptops stolen or lost from the Ministry of Defence since 2004 have been recovered. (182359)

As a result of the theft of the Royal Navy laptop, the Ministry of Defence has initiated an investigation into the details of all computers lost or stolen since 2003. This investigation is under way and I will write to the hon. Member when the information is available and arrange for a copy of my letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Des Browne to Mark Pritchard:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 29 January 2008, (Official Report, column 184W) about the number of laptops stolen or lost from the Ministry of Defence since 2004 that had subsequently been recovered.

The figure of 347 laptops that you quote can be derived from information provided in answer to the hon Member for Rayleigh (Mr Francois) on 19 January 2007, (Official Report, column 1363-4W) and the hon Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke) on 10 December 2007, (Official Report, column 58W) and relates only to stolen laptops.

Revised figures have been taken from the data collated in the course of the investigation into details of computers and other electronic media lost/stolen since 2003 and provided to Sir Edmund Burton as part of his review. For all years they show an increase in the number of stolen laptops from the numbers previously reported is because the Burton Review investigation revealed anomalies in the reporting process. Instructions have been issued to remedy these shortcomings.

Revised figures as at today are set out below.

Previously reported stolen laptops

Updated stolen laptops

Updated lost laptops

Updated total stolen and lost laptops

Updated laptops recovered (stolen/lost)

2004

173

272

22

294

6

2005

40

130

18

148

11

2006

66

155

27

182

6

2007

68

101

22

1123

9

Total

347

658

89

747

32

1 A corresponding figure of 230 was given in Burton Report (Summary, Paragraph 38c, Page 9.) Subsequent reclassification and clarification of incidents has reduced the figure to 123.