AGAI 67 often "equivalent to kangaroo courts"

#1
The title is taken from a story by Channel 4:

Exclusive: A damning report written by a serving officer has found that the army is "rarely transparent or accountable, and frequently unlawful" in the way it handles complaints and discipline.

The report, seen exclusively by Channel 4 News, was written by an army officer for submission to the Defence Select Committee as evidence for its investigation into how the army handles complaints and disciplinary hearings. It finds the army guilty of exercising power without responsibility.
Channel 4: Army discipline often equivalent to 'kangaroo courts' - Channel 4 News

Telegraph: Army disciplinary hearings condemned as 'kangaroo courts' - Telegraph

DefenceManagement.com: Army discipline rules are 'bullies charter' - Defence Management

The story may be exclusive, but the "damning report" is in fact now publicly available, in the published written evidence submitted to a Defence Committee inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner:

House of Commons Defence Committee: House of Commons - Defence Committee - Written Evidence

As you will see, written evidence was submitted by the Ministry of Defence, British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF), RAF Families Federation and a named serving officer: It is his evidence which criticises AGAI 67 practices.

Thoughts?
 
#2
Having served Pre & post its implementation I tend to think although imperfect, it is far fairer than the old, pick a number, roll a dice, throw a dart, head or stomach instant justice of the 'good old days'. There is also a review and appeals process.

I also find that in 99.9% of cases that get to summary dealing do so because the soldier is actually guilty and those who 'get away with it' usually do so on a procedural technicality and not because of their innocence.

I also feel Service complaints are on the increase, because aggrieved soldiers are increasingly discovering how easy they are to initiate and we are in danger of being in a situation where we will be bogged down with informal/formal investigations every time a soldier disagrees with a decision.

We are a unique organisation that requires our individual's to be obedient, disciplined and to do things that no sane individual would wish to do. We have robust, ambitious, competitive individuals and now and again (when unchecked) some will get carried away and take matters into their own hands.

We also have a number of out & out thugs and bullies. These individuals should be robustly weeded out and got rid off.

We are not civilians and require our own way of installing a higher standards of discipline than most civilian organisations require. That invariably means when an individual falls foul of that system they will feel agrieved.

My tuppence worth
 
#3
Can we talk about this tomorrow?
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#4
The title is taken from a story by Channel 4:



Channel 4: Army discipline often equivalent to 'kangaroo courts' - Channel 4 News

Telegraph: Army disciplinary hearings condemned as 'kangaroo courts' - Telegraph

DefenceManagement.com: Army discipline rules are 'bullies charter' - Defence Management

The story may be exclusive, but the "damning report" is in fact now publicly available, in the published written evidence submitted to a Defence Committee inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner:

House of Commons Defence Committee: House of Commons - Defence Committee - Written Evidence

As you will see, written evidence was submitted by the Ministry of Defence, British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF), RAF Families Federation and a named serving officer: It is his evidence which criticises AGAI 67 practices.

Thoughts?
It's difficult for the Army to keep everyone happy whilst maintaining the higher level of discipline it requires to function. I doubt that there will ever be a perfect system, but if the existing system is abused or is open be abuse, then it needs to be examined. Maybe the RAF & the Navy examples are the way ahead? If summary measures are removed, how will disciplinary matters be dealt with at a local level? If the ability to discipline is removed from the commander, what future does the Courts Martial system have, as that will be next on the agenda. People outside of service life have to realise that being in the service isn't the same as being in civvy street. Similarly, those who are responsible for service discipline and those who's duty it is to administer it, have to realise that there are those who would abuse it. It doesn't matter whether the soldier is as guilty as sin, he/she is entitled to be treated fairly.
 
#5
Thanks for the comments!

BAFF's submission to the HCDC (pages 9-12 of the pdf) supported, amongst other things, increases to the powers of the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC).

The MOD does not support an Ombudsman model for the SCC but has now agreed a new non-ombudsman model for increased engagement with the SCC. This is to be phased in from Jan 2013.

The serving major's written evidence from page 16 of the pdf onwards has some very specific and forthright comments and recommendations for increased SCC powers on the Armed Forces ombudsman model.

Well worth a look IMHO.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#6
Much of what he says resonates with my own experience. The only way I could see the Army maintaining 'day to day' disciplinary 'control' without being subjected to embarrassing reports like these, would be to act on his advice. He highlights quite a few issues which are, or have been, very real for some people. I still believe however that the Army should retain the power to discipline its own people, but there is a need for a more transparent system, to which an independent body should have unrestricted access. You can only bury your head in the sand for so long.
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#7
Having been on the wrong end of military justice under the old system (more than once) I thought it was totally out of date and allowed victimisation, bullying, harassment and thoroughly believed it needed a change. I was therefore very happy when AGAI 67 was introduced and thought it would be a great improvement.

I kept on thinking AGAI 67 was a good system until a CO known throughout his Corps as a bullying braggart decided to take offence at advice I gave on what I saw as his mis-management of the Sgts Mess and its funds to support his entertainment. He then decided to go through the AGAI 67 process until I made it clear that if he proceeded I would insist on a Brigadiers interview as I handed in my resignation. Strangely enough the action was withdrawn! I worried myself sick thereafter wondering what would happen to others in the future that did not have the courage to stand up for themselves.

Any system of military justice can be bastardised to suit the intentions of an OC/CO supposedly dispensing justice in their own bailiwick if they are of a mind to do so unless an external review of every disciplinary action by legally trained personnel takes place on a regular basis.
 
#8
When serving in the RN, we cleared lower decks and mustered on the ships quarterdeck to witness a warrant read out and the rating dismissed the service. [habitual drunk].
Years later in the Army, one of the lads in the unit was SNLR'd and dismissed the service. Quite frankly he was not up to standard and a liability. I suspect that the correct decision was made in nearly all cases under the old system. I feel that creeping "civilianisation" of the military way of doing things [including courts martial] is not conducive to efficiency. As an aside, are the Articles of War and dire consequences of transgressions against them still read out from time to time on warships?
 
#9
It's about time the good old bad old days of 'march the guilty bastard in' are put behind us. In hindsight the times I was on Orders the charges should never have gone through. Sect 69 was an arse covering charge and open to abuse. On one occasion civvy police saw no need to prosecute a vehicle accident but I was done under 69 for being INVOLVED in an accident (even the passenger was INVOLVED just by being there. That offence was then used on a further occasion (as a company entry it should not have followed me) in determining the punishment. OCs and COs are not lawyers and the Orders system was archaic and open to abuse by personality conflicts, etc.
 
#10
AGAI 67 is better than the old system of head or gut or being charged under Section 69. But all you need is a complete tit and it's open to abuse. At my previous unit the first Adj when I got there would scrutinise the AGAI 67 returns each month and come up with comments like "not very many AGAIs here". Seriously! If the blokes aren't ****ing up there aren't going to be many AGAIs.
For major AGAI action you should get legal advice.
 
#11
Whats so wrong with a bit of No1 Field Punishment and some flogging for the more minor crimes?

From the outside looking in it seems as though the new system is another of those "get what you wished for" ideas that sound good on paper (PAYD?) but have a tendency to go a bit pear shaped when it runs up against real life.

As to what the solution is in todays society, perhaps we need to look at how some of the worlds "citizen soldiers" do it?
 
#12
AGAI 67 has never sat comfortably with me, as I don't really agree with the 'balance of probabilities' evidencial sufficiency test. As RMP I prefer something a little more clear cut than 'he could have done it,' especially for the more serious offences where punishments are severe.

I've seen it from both sides of the fence, on the Adjts' course I saw how effective it can be if used correctly and fairly and the underlying principles of it. However in practice I've seen the system abused by someone who didn't understand the purpose behind it.
 
#14
It's the same in the RN - don't think I ever heard of anybody being admonished at the skipper or jimmy's table. It all boils down to your popularity onboard, whether they want to make an example of you, whether they need to be seen to make an example of you or whether they want to ****ing ruin you. It's all a done deal before you are marched in more or less - they just have discretion over the severity or leniency of the band of punishment the misdemeanour warrants. Then of course - how observant they'll be to see it's carried out correctly.

A "ship's cock" who is widely known as a gash hand and not overly popular will be made to attend everyone of the designated musters bang on time in rig fit to parade in front of the queen, and he'll have been scrubbing out the shitters beforehand. A 'good egg' however could quite easily get away with his 22:00 muster by simply phoning the duty PO to prove he was simply still awake at that time and not too pissed.

A bit different shoreside though.
 
#15
I feel that creeping "civilianisation" of the military way of doing things [including courts martial] is not conducive to efficiency.
AGAI 67 is really no different to how most civilian companies do things. Managers and HR departments don't have time to piss about with silly touchy-feely set-ups but they have to act within the law.
Some managers are bullies, some OCs are bullies, it's just life.
 
#16
67 is very bent, I was pretty much persecuted over a period of time by a person who would have been my reviewing officer. He wanted my boss to AGAI me for something stupid. Lucky for me my boss ignored him and told me what he was up to. To save my bosses face he briefed me that I had been punished with 3 extras if asked. People have lost the ability to bollock soldiers or get their point across by force of personality or extras. Some managers would rather not raise a squeak and just dish out the AGAI knowing that the reviewing officer is on their side in the first place therefore a review is rarely sorted.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#17
I've seen good blokes get done over for really minor things and I've seen someone who consistently****ed up not get AGAId because if he had been (again) he'd have been put on a warning order.

The system is reasonably fair, but if someone has a grudge against you then you've no hope of being treated fairly.

Some one AGAId me for being late for work once, I wasn't as I'd turned up at the time stated on the daily detail for morning roll call. But, as the guy AGAIing me claimed I'd been told to be in work 15 minutes before roll call (I hadn't), the SSM decided that on the balance of probabilities I had been late for work.

Not as extreme as other examples but it is my experience that the CoC will side with the person doing the AGAIing regardless.
 
#18
The system is reasonably fair, but if someone has a grudge against you then you've no hope of being treated fairly.

Some one AGAId me for being late for work once, I wasn't as I'd turned up at the time stated on the daily detail for morning roll call. But, as the guy AGAIing me claimed I'd been told to be in work 15 minutes before roll call (I hadn't), the SSM decided that on the balance of probabilities I had been late for work.

Not as extreme as other examples but it is my experience that the CoC will side with the person doing the AGAIing regardless.
How do you change that? It isn't really the fault of the system, more of the personalities involved. As I said earlier, it is broadly the same system that you will encounter in any walk of life.
 
#19
SSM orders Sgt to AGAI LCpl

SSM is reviewing officer in case of appeal

Bent as a nine bob note ;)
So how is that worse than SSM orders LCpl to 2 give soldiers extras for the same offence. SSM then makes both throw a dart. Soldier A throws a 1 & Soldier B throws a 20 both numbers equate to the number of extras each receives

The AGAI folder has to be signed by the OC and CO on a monthly basis and is reviewed on G1 inspections, the system is not perfect but it is far better than what used to happen.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#20
How do you change that? It isn't really the fault of the system, more of the personalities involved. As I said earlier, it is broadly the same system that you will encounter in any walk of life.
You're right you can't change it but I think the military probably leans towards people looking after the interest of their mates than civvies.
 
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