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Major emergency. Brigadier Chapman told MPs "immediate response" teams from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) had been deployed on a number of occasions in the past year. "The number of occasions they have been used and the circumstances I can not go into in this forum," said Brig Chapman, director of counter-terrorism and UK operations at the ministry of defence.
On the broader question of whether the UK was prepared for a major incident, Lord West confessed he did not know how many hospital beds could be made available in the event of an emergency of the order of 10,000 deaths.
He also raised concern about maritime security, saying that there was still no way of tracking all shipping movements in British waters.
He said "red teaming," as such scenario planning was known, did take place to a limited degree and various "what if" scenarios were constantly being worked through, including how terrorists might target the UK's financial system.
He assured the committee that the final decision would rest with "an elected minister" and that steps had been taken to protect RAF pilots from the psychological impact of shooting down a civilian aircraft.