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Armed Forces (Brutality)

Volume 114: debated on Tuesday 7 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many courts martial have been held since 1979 concerning allegations of maltreatment or brutality in the armed forces.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 March 1987, c. 382]: Courts martial are held under the terms of the service discipline Acts. These make it an offence for an officer, warrant officer or non-commissioned officer to strike or otherwise ill-treat a person of inferior rank : the relevant provisions are contained in section 36A of the Naval Discipline Act 1957, section 65 of the Army Act 1955 and section 65 of the Air Force Act 1955. Numbers of courts martial convictions for offences under these sections since 1979 are as follows:

Royal Navy and Royal Marines1ArmyRoyal Air Force
1979293
1980165
1981182
1982Nil31
1983Nil171
1984582
1985153
198644
1 Figures for 1985 and 1986 have not yet been collated.

Note: Figures for 1979 arc not available.

Details of courts martial not resulting in convictions could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions since 1979 his Department has held an internal inquiry concerning maltreatment and brutality in the armed forces.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 March 1987, c. 382]: Internal inquiries can take a number of forms and no central records are kept of the numbers held. However, the number of cases since 1979 where inquiries have led to disciplinary proceedings and convictions under the terms of section 36A of the Naval Discipline Act 1957, section 65 of the Army Act 1955 or section 65 of the Air Force Act 1955 are as follows:

Royal Navy and Royal Marines1ArmyRoyal Air Force
1979924
198016711
19818594
19822362
198315422
198410634
1985628
1986505
1 Figures for 1985 and 1986 have not yet been collated.

Note: Figures arc not available for 1979.