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Private Military and Security Companies

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 21 June 2011

On 9 March 2011, I announced that, following a bidding process, the Government would be entering further discussions with Aerospace Defence and Security (ADS) to determine the next steps for ensuring the implementation of a robust code and monitoring regime for UK-based private military and security companies (PMSCs).

I can now confirm that following further consultations, ADS have been appointed the Government’s partner in developing and implementing UK national standards for PMSCs. ADS have established a special interest group, the security in complex environments group (SCEG), which will support the Government in the transparent regulation of companies which operate in this sector. Membership of the SCEG is open to all UK-based PMSCs who have signed the international code of conduct on regulation for private security providers.

We are in the forefront of countries working to establish national standards derived from the international code which was signed in Geneva in November 2010. One hundred and twenty-five PMSCs, of which 45 are UK-based, have now signed up to the international code and more are in the process of joining. At an international level, the UK, along with the Swiss, US and Australian Governments is now working with NGO and industry partners according to a published work plan to establish a mechanism to monitor compliance with the code. Each stage of the work plan is open to public consultation and can be accessed through the international code of conduct’s website: www.icoc-psp.org. There will be no duplication between UK national and international standards.

The UK Government will use their leverage as a key buyer of PMSC services to promote compliance with the international code and to encourage other PMSC clients to do likewise.