We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In June, a new facility to handle logistical support for the UK's aircraft carriers was opened, funding was allocated to future space defence projects, and the Met Police launched a new, dramatic recruitment campaign.
New aircraft carrier logistics facility to support hundreds of jobs opens
A new logistics facility that will support the deployment of the Royal Navy's two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers has opened in Portsmouth, which will create and sustain over 550 jobs across the lifespan of the vessels.
The Queen Elizabeth Carrier Forward Logistics Centre, located alongside the Portsmouth naval base's carrier berths, marks the final project of a £350 million investment into the facility and will handle everything from lightbulbs to critical engine parts to ensure maintenance for the carriers is completed as quickly as possible.
Speaking at the opening of the centre, defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said: "Ensuring we can provide quick and efficient logistical support to our Royal Navy vessels is crucial to maintaining our resilience and operational advantage. I’m delighted to unveil a new facility dedicated to serving and preserving our Queen Elizabeth Carrier vessels throughout their 50-year lifespan."
New campaign aims to help Met Police meet recruitment goals
The Metropolitan Police has launched a new advertising campaign, including its first-ever TV commercial, in order to help attract new recruits to roles and meet its goal of adding several thousand additional personnel to its workforce in the next year.
It noted the force will need to add 4,000 staff to its roster in order to meet a goal of expanding to 36,00 officers by March 2023, and the campaign aims to highlight some of the wide range of roles and activities involved in working with the police in the UK's capital.
However, some commentators have criticised the "inherently dramatic" TV ad. The Met Police Federation noted many of the scenes depicted in the campaign focus on "elite policing" rather than the day-to-day of most officers, while former director general of the National Crime Agency Lynne Owens suggested it may set the wrong expectations for people about what working with the police involves.
Tax break could offer £8bn boost for North Sea energy sector
Oil and gas projects in the North Sea worth up to £8 billion could get the go ahead as energy firms look to take advantage of new incentives offered as part of chancellor Rishi Sunak's windfall tax on the sector, analysts have claimed.
This could offer thousands of new opportunities in security cleared roles in areas such as marine, mechanical and electrical energy engineering, for instance, although climate change campaigners have warned that such a move could undermine the UK's efforts to move to a low-carbon economy.
While the windfall tax is intended to help ease energy costs for consumers, it includes provisions that allow firms to make tax savings of 91p for every £1 they invest in UK-based energy developments. One study by broker Shore Capital said the move would offer a "powerful incentive for those existing producers who have so far been hesitant to press the button on development-ready discoveries".
£2bn of funding allocated to UK space defence efforts
A new allocation of research and development funding worth more than £2 billion has been assigned to projects to help the UK's armed forces sector take advantage of new opportunities in space, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
The Science and Technology Portfolio outlines a range of priorities for the investment between now and 2026, including the launch of two satellites to deliver a miniaturised space weather platform. Developed for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) by University College London, this will monitor changes in the Earth's atmosphere. This knowledge will help the armed forces maintain communication and intelligence capabilities on the frontline.
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, commander of UK Space Command, said: "Defence science and technological activity in space has never been more important. Whether it is in support of military operations or helping to combat climate change, defence innovation is at the forefront of this work."