UK

'Unacceptable Level Of Inappropriate Behaviour' In British Military

A new report conducted by Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston has made 36 recommendations to prevent inappropriate behaviour.

A series of new measures have been announced to address inappropriate behaviour in the British military.

It follows a report released by the Ministry of Defence, featuring 36 recommendations to tackle the issue.

'Report on Inappropriate Behaviours' was commissioned in response to repeated instances of inappropriate and allegedly unlawful behaviour by serving members of the UK Armed Forces.

The review, conducted by incoming Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston, found "an unacceptable level of inappropriate behaviour persists" in the military.

"A significant number of our people have experienced bullying, discrimination and harassment, including sexual, but have not felt able or been able to come forward to report it," the report continues.

The report, however, does state good behaviour in the Armed Forces is "the norm".

Emma Norton from human rights group, Liberty, said: "The Ministry of Defence is only collating and publishing information to do with a particular kind of sexual offence, these are offences contrary to the Sexual Offences Act. 

"There's a whole category of sexual offending which is not falling to be published and that would include offences like possession of extreme pornography, creating indecent images of children, criminal harassment offences, revenge porn offences, things like that.

"We say it's very, very important that the Ministry of Defence starts to include those in its statistics so we can better understand the true scale of sexual offending." 

Ms Norton also said: "The statistics do not include any offences which are investigated and prosecuted in the civilian system...there is serious under-reporting going on here."

Watch: Emma Norton from Liberty speaks to Forces News.

The Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced new measures to address inappropriate behaviour, including an overhaul of the complaints system and new training to implement a culture change.

A 'Defence Authority' will also be created to deal with delivering recommendations and investigating allegations.

It will also offer new routes to anonymously report inappropriate behaviour through the creation of a new hotline, a phone-based app and website forms.

Ms Mordaunt said: "This report sends a clear message and I am committed to ensuring its recommendations are delivered in full.

“I want to ensure non-commissioned officers are able to address poor behaviour when they see it. They are the moral compass of the Armed Forces."

All senior commanders have been written to updating them on the findings of the review.

Service complaints ombudsman Nicola Williams said: "Bullying, harassment and discrimination, and particularly sexual harassment, have been a problem for all the Armed Forces for several years.

"Their proposal of a new authority to specially deal with these, with specially trained people, is a new way to approach this and, hopefully, to tackle it."