He will say that just last week, two sites on the south coast were threatened with withdrawal of all defence police force presence to make savings and that this “is frightening from a security perspective.”
Keating, national chairman of the Defence Police Federation, will say the Ministry of Defence was seeking £12.5m isavings from the MoD police, which he estimates would see the force drop from its nominal strength of around 2,600 to below 2,300.
The MoD police, which is separate from the military police responsible for maintaining discipline, is a separate civilian force armed and engaged mainly in the protection of sensitive sites. It was set up after an attack by the Provisional IRA on the Royal Marine barracks at Deal in 1989.
The force, like police forces throughout the country, has already had cuts imposed, dropping from 3,500 officers in 2010.
According to an advance copy of his speech on Thursday to the federation’s annual conference in Stansted, Keating is set to warn that the proposed budget savings will mean a reduction in real terms of around one in 10 firearms officers and a reduction or removal of police protection from MoD sites.
“If this reset goes forward in order to meet an arbitrarily imposed saving set by the department on our force, then security will be reduced, the risk to terrorist or criminal attack will be increased, and the safety of those we protect – both within the department and with the nation as a whole – will be put at risk,” he will say.
“In the current climate, where the threat levels are increasing and we have seen three terrorist attacks over the past 12 weeks, where response is limited and its sustainability – nationally – is under question, this type of decision is outrageous and cannot go unchecked.
“Why would the MoD look to put financial savings, that in the grand scheme of things are minute, over the safety of its people and country?”