St Fergus: no cuts to armed police coverage

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The Ministry of Defence has given a public assurance that the number of armed police officers at St Fergus Gas Terminal will not be cut following the announcement of extensive austerity measures late last year.

The assurance, given to the Ellon Times in an e-mail response to a question posed earlier this month, will allay fears that the cuts could have reduced armed coverage of the critical facility, or possibly entailed additional duties for Grampian Police’s own armed response units.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told the Times: “While it is common knowledge that the Ministry of Defence, which of course includes the Ministry of Defence Police, is currently looking very closely at financial and personnel commitments and the need to reduce the Defence budget.

“I can assure you that at this time any planned cuts in Defence expenditure will not impact on the number of armed Ministry of Defence Police deployed at St Fergus Gas Terminal.”

The assurance will come as a relief for local police, who had faced the prospect of potentially having to cover the facility, as well as maintaining other duties including covering Aberdeen Airport and providing security to the Royal Family at Balmoral.

As a critical infrastructure facility, St Fergus is covered by armed military police able to respond swiftly to terrorist threats.

Military Police were told that their budget would be cut from £360 million to £180 million last December, as part of the government’s austerity measures.