Posted on February 4, 2019
A new legal helpline for the Armed Forces has been launched by a human rights pressure group, after what it calls “serious” failings in the way the military deals with serious criminal complaints.
The group Liberty is critical of military justice and say service personnel are being failed by the current system.
They also say some who have recorded a crime found it had a detrimental impact on them and their career.
In a report entitled ‘Second-Rate Justice’, Liberty says a number of cases were brought to its attention which it says revealed “serious and fundamental problems in the way in which service personnel or their bereaved families were being treated by the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence”.
It is particularly critical of the way in which cases involving rape or other serious offences are handled. Liberty say that in 2017, 48 rape cases were taken to trial in court martial, with two resulting in convictions – which the human rights group say is a lower rate of conviction than in civilian courts. In total, Liberty’s report has 21 recommendations for the military, including that all serious criminal offences committed in the United Kingdom are investigated by civilian police. They also advise that an independent expert supervisory body be established to provide oversight of the Service Police and that the three branches of the service police are combined into a single force.