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Transport: Personnel

Volume 697: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Government need to be sure at all times that the right measures are in place to counter the evolving threat from international terrorism. To achieve this, we need regularly to consider and evaluate specific security measures to ensure that we have the balance right in the light of changing circumstances.

In the past two years, the department has been helped greatly in this process by the findings of two separate reviews into the management and application of security on transport infrastructure: Policing at Airports by Stephen Boys Smith and Lord West's wider-ranging Review of the Protection of Crowded Places, Critical National Infrastructure and Transport Infrastructure.

Following on from Lord West’s review, which focused on physical infrastructure, and to continue this process of ongoing appraisal of the security framework, the Government have commissioned an independent review of how personnel security is delivered across the transport sector, including through background and identity checks and related measures. The review will examine the extent to which current arrangements cover all and only the right transport workers, and whether they do so to the correct and proportionate degree. It will provide an important and timely health check of current personnel security arrangements across the sector.

The review will be conducted by a team led by Stephen Boys Smith, who led the 2006 Independent Review of Airport Policing. This new review team will engage closely with all relevant elements of the transport sector as it carries out its work. A summary of the review's terms of reference has been placed in the Library of the House and published on my department's website.

I have asked Stephen Boys Smith to provide an initial report to me in the new year setting out in detail the scope of the work that he will carry out and a timetable for the delivery of his final conclusions. Following completion of the review, I will publish a summary of its recommendations.

I encourage all parts of the transport sector to work with Stephen Boys Smith to ensure a full and effective review and maintain a robust, but proportionate, framework for transport security.