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Reservists (London Olympic and Paralympic Games)

Volume 540: debated on Monday 20 February 2012

An order has been made under section 56(1A) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable reservists to be called out for permanent service as part of Defence’s contribution to the safety and security of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

In providing support to the police, and other civil and Olympic authorities, Defence will contribute up to 13,500 military personnel at the busiest part of the games, of which up to 2,100, around 15%, will come from the reserve forces.

Some reservists will provide a range of specialist capabilities and expertise while the majority will form part of the support to Olympic venue security operations.

Defence will continue to apply its policy of intelligent selection, designed to identify, in good time, volunteer reservists with supportive employers with the training, skills and availability, in order to minimise the impact of mobilisation upon the individual, their family and employer.

Since 2008, around 2,300 reservists per year have been called out for operations around the world, where they serve to support and strengthen the defence effort, while at the peak in 2004, reservists made up 20% of our forces in Iraq and 12% in Afghanistan.

The reserves will be taking on an enhanced role, following the decision to invest £1.8 billion in equipment and training as we move to a more integrated force by 2020.

There are currently almost 600 reservists in Afghanistan, representing some 6% of the deployed force. As well as augmenting regular units, reservists supply vital skills, in particular medical, and niche logistical and communication expertise.

Both the reservist and overall Defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed by other nations at recent Olympic games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics.

The order takes effect from 16 February 2012 and ceases to have effect on 20 September 2012.