asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the recommendations in the published findings of the board of inquiry into the death of Sergeant Steven Roberts in March 2003, how many sets of enhanced combat body armour are currently held in operational reserve. [HL1012]
As a result of lessons learnt on Operation TELIC, it is now MoD policy that all personnel are issued with enhanced combat body armour prior to deploying to an operational theatre. In addition, there are approximately 2,000 sets held in operational reserve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although stock levels change according to replenishment and issues, the operational reserve generally equates to an additional 10 to15 per cent of stock above that required for personal issue.
The Army could not conduct a board of inquiry before the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the death of an Iraqi, Mr Zaher, who died in the same incident, and the possibility of a prosecution had been discounted. Following the Attorney-General's announcement on 27 April 2006 that there was insufficient evidence to institute criminal proceedings, the Army’s board of inquiry was convened on 17 May. The board of inquiry’s findings were ratified by the Army's chain of command on 26 July 2006, and published on 31 July 2006.