Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Airwaves

  1.  Airwaves, the Communication Channel for RAF Families, is grateful to the Select Committee for the opportunity to comment on the Armed Forces Bill.

  2.  The implications for families within the provisions of the Bill appear to us to fall within the following:

    (a)  Part II Powers of Entry Search and Seizure. Whilst several of the clauses in Part II would appear to have an implication for the privacy of Service Families Accommodation (in particular clause 9, Entry for Purposes of Arrest), there are safeguards in clause 3.

    (b)  Part III Trial and Punishment of Offences. Clauses 29 and 30, dealing with Custody and Conditional Release from Custody might be seen as in fact offering an improvement to the current situation from the viewpoint of dependant families of the accused or convicted party.

    (c)  Part V Miscellaneous and General. Under Clause 36, Miscellaneous Amendments, (Schedule 7, Part VI) both Marriages in Service Chapels and Children in Respect of Whom Protective Orders May Be Given, are positive measures for families.

  3.  Service personnel recognise that, whilst in our daily lives we are bound by the same laws as every citizen, there is a need for the Services to be able to exercise disciplinary measures in addition to these. Occasionally that will have an impact on families. At the same time they need to be assured that they have the same degree of protection offered by the law as everyone else, and the Armed Forces Bill would appear to clarify the limits of extra authority traditionally wielded by the Services, and the safeguards applying to those powers.

  4.  Airwaves has no evidence of any wider issues affecting families in relation to the operation of Service disciplinary measures, other than the length of time which sometimes occurs between arrest and trial, which I understand is in fact no less in the civilian courts.

February 2001

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