Minister reassures Marham personnel in wake of kidnap attempt

Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Mike Penning MP visiting RAF Marham. Photo: SAC Hannah Beevers ANL-160729-103747001
Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Mike Penning MP visiting RAF Marham. Photo: SAC Hannah Beevers ANL-160729-103747001

Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning has visited Royal Air Force personnel at RAF Marham to reassure them after last week’s attempted abduction of a serviceman close to the base.

During his first visit as a Minister of State to the West Norfolk station, Mr Penning discussed operations and emphasised the commitment to keeping personnel safe.

As well as military personnel he met civilian staff, family members and supporting organisations.

Mr Penning said: “I was pleased to visit Marham to reassure personnel and their families that their security is of the utmost importance. We’re are in constant liaison with police and intelligence services around the country and review and amend our security arrangements continually to try and ensure our people and their families are safe.”

During his tour he also discussed the progress of the F35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, the RAF variant of which will be based at Marham. He also discussed the vital role RAF aircraft are playing in operations against Daesh, supporting the Iraqi forces as a central actor in the global coalition. The RAF has now conducted 948 strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Earlier yesterday Mr Penning witnessed British forces hosting a multinational peacekeeping exercise for the first time. Around 300 UK troops are working alongside more than 200 US and central Asian counterparts, training Kazakhstani forces prepare for future United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions as part of NATO Exercise Steppe Eagle. The annual UK-US led exercise has been held since 2003, but this is the first time in its 13-year history it has been held here.

Taking place at the Stanford Training Area, near Thetford, soldiers from 1st Battalion Rifles, operating under 160th Infantry Brigade are sharing peacekeeping expertise and techniques including weapons training, establishing base security and managing displaced civilians.