Advice please - when is it neccessary to involve the Chain of Command.

Can someone give me a simple answer, or link to an authoritative source for the answer.

If a serviceman is a suspect in a civilian criminal case, at what point is it a requirement to inform the Chain of Command?

For the puposes of this discussion, an alleged incident, in the UK, by a UK based serviceman, off duty, not on military property and not involving military property or other military personnel. In other words, no military involvement. The individual was interviewed under caution and let go but told that he might be charged with an offence.

Is it a requirement, as I suspect, to notify the Chain of Command at the point a formal charge is made (assuming that it goes that far)?

Once an incident is formally reported to the Chain of Command, what procedures should be followed. I am a little rusty on this subject and need to bring myself up to speed.

Serious replies please, by PM if you prefer.
Notify once charged, at the latest, and brace oneself for more interviews and charges of bringing the army into disrepute methinks.

Rank is relevant. WO/Commissioned = big trouble.
ADSOL. Not sure there is any grounds for a charge of bringing the Army into disrepute.

There is an allegation of a crime, that is denied, circumstancial evidence only and a history of malicious allegations by the claimant. The police are obliged to investigate and, even if a charge is eventually made, the individual will still be innocent until proven guilty (which seems highly unlikely). The alleged offence is relatively minor and stems from a "neighbour dispute" (Private, not MQ patch). It is not fraud or a sexual/violent offence and I would find it difficult to justify a charge of bringing the Army into disrepute even if a guilty verdict was returned (although, clearly, there would be other concerns at that point).

Obviously the most important piece of advice is "don't accept a caution".
If this is some pain in the arse getting nasty leading to the police then fair enough. However, I would get the news out soonest, inforrmally for now, with the hierarchy.

Does the hierarchy know about the neighbour already ? Is there evidence of an ongoing problem ? If so use it early to set the scene.
Does the hierarchy know about the neighbour already ?

Apart from me , no, its a private matter and has been dealt with as such up to now.

Is there evidence of an ongoing problem ? If so use it early to set the scene.

Yes, plenty. Record going back over 2 years, and, fortunately, including letters written to the police to complain about behaviour etc. but, unfortunately, no conclusive evidence - its all a bit "he said, she said", which is why the plod have been reluctant to take any clear action up to now (and may yet drop the case as "insufficient evidence to proceed").
Obviously the most important piece of advice is "don't accept a caution".
I would qualify that with the phrase "without first seeking legal advice".

A caution requires an acceptance that you are guilty of the offence, and will be recorded on your "record", ie on the police national computer.

However if it transpires that there is, in fact, sufficient evidence to put you at risk of a guilty verdict in a criminal court, then you will have a decision to make as to the benefits of accepting the caution (avoiding a conviction) as against the possibility in court of being found not guilty, as against the risk of being convicted.

For that you would need legal advice.

I would tend to agree that it is better to keep the chain of command "in the loop" so they cannot get any nasty surprises at a later date. Also they may be able to offer invaluable advice and support.
CoC should be informed ASP, at AFC whilst Coy Comdr, the RMP were informed by CIVPOL as soon as one of our Juniors was lifted.
As others have posted, the CoC needs info when charged at the very latest, far better to keep them in the loop from the very start, especially if, as posted, there is history of previous malicious allegations. The CoC is less likely to be supportive if the first they hear of it is the charge being laid.Bitter personal experience talking....


CoC should be informed ASP, at AFC whilst Coy Comdr, the RMP were informed by CIVPOL as soon as one of our Juniors was lifted.
Key phrase right there. Civ plod automatically send details to relevant Bde RMP (or service equivalents) when SP are lifted (in much the same way that they have to tell the NMC if they nick a nurse or GMC if a doc). CoC will know about is soon enough if not already so yer man takes a risk if he decides not tell his seniors. Appreciate that alleged offence had nothing to do with the military but it does, because he's in it and all SP are supposed to be good boys.
Right then, Some FACTS for anyone who uses this thread for research in the future.

From QRs and AGAIs the requirement is:

Rank is not an issue - you are required to inform your Commanding Officer if charged with any criminal offence or summonsed to appear in court. The key word is CHARGED.

There is no obligation to report an interview under caution or any similar lesser police intervention.

It is still good advice to inform your CofC at the first whiff of trouble, particularly if it is likely to go further.

This information was confirmed by Army Legal staff.
Thanks for clarifying.

I am aware of a situation where CivPol arrested a colleague for computer hacking (from his home) and were actually quite sympathetic when they established his profession, the possible consequences and taking into account that the supposedly criminal act he was accused of fairly minimal. He reported it immediately and was told to keep his CO informed at all stages (he hadn't been charged). In the end he was offered the choice of an "informal caution" (local record only, I believe) on the basis that it "shouldn't affect his career", or otherwise told it would passed over for his CO to deal with. He accepted the latter on the basis that the CO was already fully aware (which he hadn't mentioned to the police) and the matter was dealt with by a curt "you should have known better than to get caught" retort a week later.

I have no idea whether this was an exceptional case, there were extenuating circumstances (colleague's wife being a little liberal with her affections, to put it mildly, and therefore he hacked into both her and her boyfriend's email accounts), but it seems the police were extremely civil in this instance
Just for the record, the final outcome is - No charge due to "insufficient evidence" - which is probably as close to "sorry we wasted your time" as one will get from the police. Had the CoC been brought into it, their time would also have been wasted!

I hope those who believe that anyone arrested or accused must be guilty take note - being arrested or interviewed under caution is not even evidence that an offence has taken place, let alone that the individual arrested is guilty.
There is a decision to be taken which involves an assessment of risk. It may be that you inform the CoC and then no charges are brought, and you think "shit, I've bubbled myself for no good reason". But the other possibility is that you don't tell the CoC and charges ARE brought, in which case you are a bit fucked.

In my opinion (which I am not suggesting is any sort of "expert" opinion), the former would be less damaging than the latter.
S, If you read back up the thread there is a DS answer (its in QRs). You are REQUIRED to inform the CoC if CHARGED with an offence. Arrest and or Interviewed under caution do not require notification to the CoC.

If you dont tell them at that point and are subsequently charged - then tell them at the earliest possible - you have done no wrong.
Which is fine, as long as there is no distinction between the legal requirement in QRs and the moral imperative (if you wish to view it that way) to be honest and open with your unit where something bad happens.

The "I would have got away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids" defence has never gone down particularly well either with the CoC or with one's comrades/peers.

Furthermore your CoC will be more willing to be "onside" with you in the future if you've always been up front with them in the past.

I diont know your reason for feeling more knowlegeable on this subject than I, particularly after I have spent nearly 2 weeks grappling with it. You could very easily be arrested and interviewed under caution simply because you happen to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may well have done nothing at all but the police can be quite thorough when they wish to investigate an alleged crime. No further action. Nothing bad has, or will, happen that involves you or anyone else in the military. Absolutely no requirement, moral or legal, to notify anyone of anything.

I agree that, if there is a good likelihood of a charge being brought, early notification to the CoC is probably a good idea but it is simply not correct to assume that every arrest or interview implies likelihood of a charge or prosecution.

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