House of Lords: Security

(asked on 10th June 2014) - View Source


To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will initiate a debate in the House of Lords before any decision is taken to privatise the security arrangements of the House.

Answered by
Lord Sewel
This question was answered on 18th June 2014

The following information about decisions on the new security contract arrangements was published in March 2014:

“In March 2015, the current contract with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to provide armed protection, policing and security officer functions will expire. Over the last year, the Security Arrangements Renewal Programme (SARP) Board has been working to analyse options and make a recommendation on new contract arrangements to be introduced next year. That recommendation was endorsed by the Lords House Committee and the Commons Commission.

The agreed recommendation is that the two Houses should renegotiate with the MPS to continue to provide security officer functions, armed protection and policing, whilst moving the provision of the search and screening function for the three main public entrances (Black Rod's Garden, Cromwell Green and Portcullis House) to a specialist commercial provider. The Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Parliaments have now written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner requesting new arrangements from 2015, and a commercial procurement for search and screening will start soon.

This is a major contract for Parliament, both in terms of its financial value and its central role in ensuring the security of parliamentarians, employees and visitors to the Parliamentary Estate. As well as continuing to benefit from the expertise and experience of the Metropolitan Police officers and staff, new search and screening arrangements at the busiest public entrances will be better able to provide the greater flexibility and scalability needed to meet Parliament's changing requirements for public access”.

Discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service on future arrangements are continuing. Security matters are not discussed on the floor of the House and the House Committee has agreed to the initial approach taken by the Security Arrangements Renewal Programme Board. That Committee will be further consulted during the process. I have no plans to initiate a debate on the floor of the House.

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