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The government has been urged to ensure that the emergency services are fully equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Conservative MP for Melksham, Michael Ancram, made the call after it was revealed that the police force has not received the number of emergency hoods they were predicted to be given as part of a contract agreed in 2006.

Around 140,000 hoods were expected to be provided to the police through the contract, but the politician has claimed that only 21,000 of the products have been ordered.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Ancram said: 'We are in the ridiculous position that every ambulance has an emergency hood and the large majority of policemen do not.

'What would happen if for example, there was a major chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident in the underground or an attack at the Olympic Games?'

Avon Rubber, the company which was awarded the contract two years ago, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of respiratory protection, with ranges which include masks, filters and breathing apparatus.

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