Special Escort Group (Ministry of Defence Police)

Special Escort Group (Ministry of Defence Police)

The Special Escort Group (Ministry of Defence Police) or SEG (MDP) are a specialised part of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP). It is primarily responsible for the escorting of all Defence Nuclear Material (DNM) within the UK, which include Nuclear Weapons convoys (NW) by road between AWE Burghfield and RNAD Coulport, and Special Nuclear Materials (SNM) by road convoy, rail and air. ["Talk Through" #118 June/July 2004, The magazine of the Ministry of Defence, p16 "Out and about with the SNM" http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/971CA290-0F9B-4092-A360-2A1B69EB806F/0/TT118complete.pdf]

Defence Nuclear Materials are Nuclear Weapons (warheads), Special Nuclear Materials (SNM), and new and used reactor fuel from Royal Navy submarines. Special Nuclear Materials within the UK are defined as Tritium, Uranium (highly enriched and depleted) and Plutonium weapons.

The SEG provides the staff for the Close Escort and traffic management of these convoy movements. It works alongside armed military protection from Royal Marines (Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines) and AWE PLC civilian staff during nuclear weapons convoy movements. Rail escorts include radiological safety escorts and railway personnel. There is liaison with local police forces en route.

The SEG may escort other Ministry of Defence assets, and has escorted US munitions (such as during Operation Telic). It will also provide MDP support elsewhere such as providing ceremonial duty during the visit of the Queen to Portsmouth for Trafalgar 200, in addition to deployment at Whitehall, at HMNB Clyde and at AWE Division.

The SEG is based at AWE Aldermaston. Training here includes emergency procedures and tactical firearms support. Exercise scenarios include anti-terrorist exercises, nuclear protest tactics and armed security. The SEG budget is £4.1M for 05/06.

Nuclear Weapon convoy movements are regularly monitored by the nuclear disarmament campaigning network "NukeWatch UK" and it has on occasion been disrupted by anti-nuclear weapon protests. ["Talk Through" #117 March/April 2004, The magazine of the Ministry of Defence, p14 "Out and about with the Special Escort Group" http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/BBD4D320-AD48-47D3-BC6D-6343E5E9663F/0/TT117complete.pdf]

Nuclear accidents

In the event of a nuclear accident, responsibility would be passed to the Nuclear Accident Response Organisation (NARO), part of the MoD, to coordinate responses. An Immediate Response Force (IRF) would be embedded within the convoy, or in the case of air transport be ready to fly by helicopter to the scene. Each is commanded by a MoD Incident Co-ordinator (IC). Within 24 hours a Follow on Force (FoF) could be deployed if required. The MDP would co-ordinate a joint response with the United States for accidents involving US nuclear warheads or nuclear materials on UK soil.

The detailed public emergency plan is the Local Authority & Emergency Services Information (LAESI) plans.* [http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/Reports/OtherPublications/DSC/DsandcnarReportLocalAuthorityEmergencyServicesInformation.htm] .

The MDP provides a list of Local Authorities that SNM routinely travel through or over:

England: Barnsley, Bath and North East Somerset, Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Bracknell Forest, Bradford, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Bury, Calderdale, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Coventry, Cumbria, Darlington, Derby City, Derbyshire, Devon, Doncaster, Dudley, Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, District, Essex, Exeter, Gateshead, Gloucestershire, Halton , Hampshire, Hartlepool, Hereford, Hertfordshire, Kingston upon Hull District, Kirklees, Knowsley, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester City, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norfolk, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, North Tyneside, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oldham, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Reading, Redcar & Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sheffield, Slough, Solihull, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, South Tyneside, St Helens, Staffordshire, Stockton-on-Tees Borough, Stoke-on-Trent, Suffolk, Sunderland, Surrey, Swindon, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Warrington, Warwickshire, West Berkshire, Wigan, Wiltshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire, York

Wales: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan

Scotland: Argyll & Bute, City of Edinburgh, City of Glasgow, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Highland, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian


Further reading

* [http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/SecurityandIntelligence/MDPGA/MinistryOfDefencePolice.htm Ministry of Defence Police website]
* [http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/Reports/OtherPublications/DSC/DsandcnarReportLocalAuthorityEmergencyServicesInformation.htm Local Authority & Emergency Services Information (LAESI) 4th Edition]
* [http://www.nukewatch.org.uk NukeWatch UK website]

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