Stand by for more mud-slinging and insinuation dressed up as evidence. When the BBC are touting for former soldiers who have been bullied to step forward you can sense that the programme is hardly likely to be unbiased. After all, the BBC all read the Guardian, the Guardian hates the army, and so do the BBC. How much do we want to bet that all of the people they interview will have been serious "admin cases" while they were in the army (for the briefest of periods) and not connected to Deepcut in any way, shape, or form? How likely are they to mention the fact that the "independant investigation" that was paid for by the families is seriously flawed (more so than the MoD botched investigation) and would not stand up in court?
I bet they handle this with all of the sensitivity of the Foreign Affairs Select Committe.
This is flavour of the month, I heard a long section on The today programme on radio 4 about it this AM.
Three things stand out.
1) All families interviewed were unhappy at how they were treated by the army after the death.
2) None had confidence in a system where the army investigated its own, they said "Most SIB reports are rejected if they are sent to a senior officer who is criticised in them" from this I took it to mean the unit CO and
3) The oppotunity for the "scene" of the suicide to be tampered with prior to the arrival of RMP.
As a civy police officer I have seen RMP at work and in general have found them helpful and competent. However they are not divorced enough from the rest of the army to be seen as truely "independent".
Can I suggest therefore that the following changes be made.
1) All non combat sudden deaths of army personel to be investigated by a specific unit set up for that purpose to consist of RMP, civillian doctors and attached technical experts relevent to the case being investigated. This should answer to an outside Omburdsman with the power to hold the chain of command to account. The Omburdsman would have the right to direct the investigation and call in any outside agencies (such as HSE investigators) he saw fit. This would go some way to alleviating relatives concerns about lack of objectivity. A model would be that used by the Police Complaints authority for deaths in police custody.
2) Appointment of Civil police trained Familiy Liason Officers who will manage all aspects of the family's contacts with the army. (one mother had her sons belonings Fed-exed to her without warning, how does that make the army look?)
3) Training in crime scene management for Regimental Police and Medics allowing the scene to be secured as early as possible for evidential integrity (prevents worrying suicide notes from "disappering" hopefully)
4) Complete openness in the investigation including a "lessons learned" debrief
5) Units with a reputation for problems (like Deepcut) to be subjected to extra supervision in the form of a review of "cold cases", extra external supervision and if neccessary a covert investigation of the units culture by trained undercover police officers.
I think the army is unfairly maligned at times but ceasers wife must be seen to be above reproach, I'd be interested in your thoughts, especially Masonic and Ramillies who both normally ahve interesting points to make !!!
Silly me but I thought that in the UK the civvie Police investigated such matters, or are they all too busy chasing motorists. No need for Trotskys suggestions if Surrey Constabulary had done it's job in the first place.
Be interesting if someone was to do a programme on BBC journalists bullying the people they are supposed to be interviewing. Personally I think all these arguments between the BBC and the Govt about who told the truth about the WMD dossier is rather like a paedophile calling a child killer a heartless bastard.
One thing's for certain, if the BBC are doing a documentary it will have all the balance of a elephant with a bad back.
I think that the Army didn't exactly cover itself in glory by doing some daft things like in 1 case putting the rifle back on the rack in the armoury where anyone could have touched it before the police had the chance to fingerprint it, but this is just a case of people not thinking about the implications of their actions, when let's face it, they weren't being faced with ordinary circumstances. The families however seem to think that rather than just be simple human error that a conspiracy is at play to hide the guilty in a murder case. I understand their reluctance to accept that their loved ones committed suicide, but they are clutching at straws to suggest that there was a conspiracy at play.
In the case of Cheryl James for example, all of the evidence points to a bust up in a relationship that went sour causing depression. To suggest that she was murdered doesn't fit either the circumstances, or the evidence. I wonder if the BBC will mention those facts?
Although the highly emotional response to this very emotive subject is understandable, what is not is the inferred acceptance that cock ups will happen in investigations and handling of families after deaths..............Trotsky's suggestions make eminent sense, all of them. The civvy police went through a number of TV documentaries (remember the infamous rape case interview carried out by Thames Police officers, filmed for the country to see? There were things shown in that programme that lead to badly needed improvements in the handling of rape victims).
No organisation is perfect and the Army isn't either. Just as Spooks has picked up on the undercurrent of unhappiness in the Army, so journos will pick up on any other undercurrents of dissatisfaction - a balanced view? Balance is in the eye of the beholder. The Army gets plenty of good PR in the press and the TV - and it will get bad as well.
Bullying is what made this army great, how would we have done in 2 world wars? Roukes Drift? Monti Casino? Balaklava? Falklands? without a good kicking in basic training and around the barrack block we would have gone down quicker than a nurse at a doctors party. Just look at these new fangled modern day wars were as theres a distinct lack of moral fibre everything has to be done from 20000 feet, give em cold steel thats what I say, they dont like it up em, the hun.
And here we see a typical example of Army bullying.......picking on someone who hasn't done a basic skills course! You lot should be ashamed of yourselves. Now why don't you just all just bugger off and get pissed in the trogs bar and then hunt down the 'effeminate' member of your respective units. He should be asleep in his bed. You could storm in, trash his room and give him a good shoeing. That should keep you occupied until the unit computer club get back in from their monthly meeting. Then you could leave the poof bleeding in his locker and beat the crap out of them....and take their kebabs off them. That's what used to happen in my day. You're all too f*ckin' soft nowadays!
Not sure, but it sounds a lot of fun. Especially after a dozen 'Herfies' and a Gyros mit Zatziki. Nip into the block, grab the speccie tw*t from the computer club and off to the baths with him, wrapped in his duvet to keep him warm. Under the shower for 10 minutes just to get him in the mood and whilst you dig out some 'Glitto' (do they still have that?) and 'Bass Brooms' and away we go............'skinned computer geek a go-go'
Ref the Deepcut deaths - news has just been released stating that inquiry into the deaths initiated by the parents of the deceased has concluded that suicide is 'unlikely' to be the cause of death.
Sussex Police have postponed releasing the results of their inquiry. It was not stated if this delay was as a result of the conclusions of the privately sponsored inquiry.
What the above means to the military is that medias' suspicion of a conspiracy has been given more grounds for credibility. I have only seen reports of these tragic incidents in the media and I have to say that, if that reporting is true, the best we can hope for is that it is proved those at Deepcut who handled these investigations were grossly incompetent. Anything worse than that doesn't bear thinking about.