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Service Personnel: Police Cautions

Volume 593: debated on Monday 23 February 2015

17. How many service personnel were dismissed from the Army, demoted or otherwise penalised as a result of having received a police caution between 2008 and 2011. (907683)

Initially, in reply to the hon. Lady’s campaign, I said that the figure was 1,500, but we have made further inquiries because our aim is to contact everybody. We now think that the figure is nearer to 1,200—1,000 in the Army. As we make those inquiries, it is important to appreciate that not everybody who was penalised in some way had that happen as a result of their receiving a police caution—other matters may have been involved as well—so we are exploring all that.

The Minister will be aware that at least 58 of those personnel were discharged from the armed forces. On a rough calculation of losing, say, a £25,000 salary for just one year, compensation of over £1.25 million would be due. What assessment has she made of the cost to the defence budget of the military law-breaking and cover-up that was involved?

As I have explained, we are identifying all the individuals so that we can contact them and advise them accordingly. I have made it very clear that I want to see action by the three armed forces to anticipate what may come forward so that we do not suffer any more delay and there are no injustices.