To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in how many Army regiments there were no suicides in the years 1987 to 1991; and in how many there were more than one suicide.
In the five years 1987–1991 there were no suicides in 33 regiments and six corps of the Regular Army. In the same period there has been more than one suicide in nine corps and eight regiments.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make it his policy that all reports of investigations into suicides are examined centrally, that all regiments where there are more than two suicides a year are visited by an independent investigator and that an annual report is made to Parliament on forces' suicides;(2) if he will investigate whether bullying was a factor in any suicide in the armed forces.
All suicides in the armed forces are thoroughly investigated and there are no plans to change present procedures. Investigations completed into suicides committed since 1987 do not show bullying to have been a factor. Statistical information on suicides is contained in the report on "Annual Health Tables: Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force". Arrangements have been made to place the reports for 1990 and future years in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give for the (a) Royal Navy and Royal Marines, (b) the Army and (c) the Royal Air Force for each of the years 1987 to 1991 (i) the number of suicides and (ii) the number of personnel; and if he will express the suicides as the number per 100,000 personnel.
My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will write to the right hon. Member.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will detail the investigatory procedure that is carried out when a suicide occurs in the Army.
The suspected suicide of a member of the Army in the United Kingdom would be the subject of a coroner's inquest. The coroner would expect to receive a report on an investigation of the case by the civil police assisted where appropriate by the special investigation branch—SIB—of the Royal Military police. Suspected suicides of military personnel overseas are investigated by the SIB. A copy of any SIB report is invariably given to the commanding officer of the unit concerned.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 27 January, Official Report, columns 454–56, if he will investigate the reasons for the level of suicides in the Royal Engineers and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
No. The level of suicides in the Royal Engineers and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is not significantly higher than in other parts of the Army.