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Armed Forces: Parcels

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of parcels sent from members of the public to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but not addressed to an individual which had not been delivered in the latest period for which figures are available; and how such parcels were treated by the British Forces Post Office. (240451)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: We do not record separately the number of unsolicited parcels received from members of the public by personnel deployed on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The British Forces Post Office (BFPO) policy is that unsolicited mail will be moved to operational theatres as and when there is sufficient spare capacity to move it without affecting the mail from family and friends. The recent MOD publicity campaign seeking to discourage unsolicited parcels has significantly reduced the volumes of unsolicited mail currently being processed by the BFPO and as a result the relatively small quantities of such mail are being processed with minimal delay. I should, however, emphasise that any return to the sorts of volumes of unsolicited mail witnessed last year could result in substantial delays to personal mail and we cannot allow that to happen.