Revealed: Security breached 29 times at RAF bases in Norfolk and Suffolk - including loss of classified documents

Security has been breached 29 times in eight years at RAF bases in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Security has been breached 29 times in eight years at RAF bases in Norfolk and Suffolk. - Credit: PA

Security at military bases in our region has been breached on at least 29 occasions in the past eight years, new figures have revealed.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the breaches occurred at RAF Marham in west Norfolk, as well as RAF Honington and Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk.

Figures released to this newspaper show an increase in the number of reported incidents since 2008, including the loss of classified documents.

Almost 40pc of security breaches at RAF Marham, which is home to GR4 Tornados currently targeting Islamic State militants in Syria, occurred in the past two years.

The base also lost the second highest number of classified items, with five going missing in 2016 alone.

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While the MoD would not specify what items were lost, it said they included classified documents, ID cards, laptops, mobiles and removable media.

The figures show the base also suffered six disclosures, whereby protectively marked material may have been seen by an 'unauthorised' person.

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Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said she would be raising the matter with the secretary of state for defence.

The MoD put the increased number of incidents down to stricter security regulations.

A spokesman said: 'The MoD treats information security as a top priority. All incidents, however minor, are thoroughly investigated and may result in disciplinary action.

'The MoD promotes a culture where security is the responsibility of all staff and personnel are required to report all security incidents including near misses. This can result in figures appearing higher than comparable organisations.'

In Suffolk, RAF Honington, which is around six miles south of Thetford, experienced the highest number of thefts and losses of classified documents.

Four items have already been lost by the base this year, which is home to the RAF Regiment and the joint chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment.

The MoD said all incidents are subjected to an initial security risk assessment, with further action taken on a proportionate basis.

Wattisham Flying Station, near Ipswich, had the lowest number of thefts and losses.

A spokesman for the MoD said the former RAF base was now primarily used by the Army Air Corps.

The MoD refused to disclose the number of cyber attacks on each of the bases' computers, stating it was not in the interests of national security.

Speaking about the figures, which were released following a Freedom of Information request, Ms Truss said: 'The security of all those within the RAF Marham community is of paramount importance. I am raising this with the secretary of state for defence.'

Have you received an interesting response back from an FoI request? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

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