Civilians - trespassing and other offences

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by Meum_Cerebrum_Nocet, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere on the site, I couldn't find anything.

    We (soldiers living in SLA) have been having some problems with civilian staff working for the QMs dept, for some time now. It's pretty extensive but I'll just provide the highlights.

    The bottom line is that these civilians have been going into various people's rooms, at any time of the day or night, without any prior notification on the pretense (and sometimes actual) of either carrying out work on behalf of the QM's dept or escorting contractors conducting routine maintenance.

    A little annoying, you might think, but not entirely a problem?

    Well, several of us have been in our rooms at various times of the day and have been astonished to see these civvies just waltz straight into our rooms (after unlocking our doors) and when challenged as to why, they just mumble and leave. Now we know this goes on more than we've witnessed it as instances such as TV's mysteriously being found turned on, on return from work or, in the extreme, one of the QM's staff telling one soldier that he needed a new guitar string for his guitar. The guitar was in a case under said soldier's bed!!

    Basically, the chain of command don't want to rock the boat and have brushed off our complaints and after a recent incident involving a female soldier and 3 male QM's staff who were not where they should have been, we feel enough is enough.

    Are these civilians breaking any laws? We think they could well be trespassing as well as other offences.

    Does anyone have any advice on this matter? Speicifcally, any legislation or military law that we can quote to finally get this stopped because it's way out of order and it just can't be right that these people can have access without notifying the occupant, whenever they want and clearly doing whatever they want. All the soldiers are happy for people to be in their rooms to conduct work just as long as it is at a reasonable time and, most importantly, we are notified of it BEFORE hand. We don't think it is unreasonable but we need to have the backing of civvy/military law and or regs before we take this complaint down another route. What are the rules regarding entry to someone's accommodation by military and/or non-military staff?!?

    Any help, very much appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Mate, you've done well to put up with this nonsense for as long as you have. In answer to your question then, the individuals in question may well be commiting an offence of Burglary. I'm a copper and if someone reported to me that another person had accessed a private / locked room to obtain an item (guitar string) which didn't belong to him, and that was his only reason for acessing the room at that time, he commits an ofence of Burglary contrary to Sect 9(1) of the Theft act. If you reported that to me (if I have understood the situation correctly) I would be inclined to arrest him on suspicion of that offence. Make no mistake, it is a serious offence to be arrested for. The only complicating factor would be prooving that the suspect entered the room with the intention of stealing, as they may in other cirumstances have permission to enter your room. This would be a matter for the CPS and ultimately a magistrate to decide.
    The most sensible solution would be for the chain of command to risk rocking the boat and get involved to resolve it without the use of criminal legislation, but you don't need me to tell you that!
    You mention tresspassing, although this is not an offence in criminal law, a person can exercise minimal force in removing a tresspasser. Although as stated above, the individuals may well have permission (expressed or implied) in order to acess your rooms at some time. The situation needs sorting either way.
    I'm a civvy copper and didn't serve as RMP, so can't give you mega service law info, but please P.m if you want more detailed advice and i'll do what I can.
  3. If this is happening as you say it is, speak to your CSM & ask him to investigate with a view to you putting in an official complaint to your CO.
  4. When I said 'chain of command', it's the CSM who doesn't want to rock the boat!! We've given him 4 or 5 examples and instances over the last few months - more than enough I think you'll agree, and he's done nothing.
  5. If you occupy the premises on Licence (which I suspect you are because the CoC will presumably have access), then you are probably out of luck.

    A licence is simply permission to occupy certain premises and that permisson carries conditions and can be revoked by the licensor at any time (but he must give notice!).

    If you are doing legal reaserch, look for licensee rights

    Also not trespass because you are a licensee. To show trespass you must be a tenant.
  6. Hmm, I'd be inclined to speak to your troop/platoon commander then. If the CSM is not able or willing to do something then that is what it will take. I would ask to speak to the commander via your troop Sgt and see what they have to say, the Sgt will speak to the CSM I'm sure and might get some action if not then the troop officer should pull his/her finger out and do something.

    edited for mongness
  7. Any time I had to carry out work on quarters, I always made sure there was somebody in to sign my forms, would not carry out work on unsupervised premises, not worth the world of shoite that can follow
  8. There is no specific defence against any offences contained within the theft act with regard o licenses, as I understand it. The point to proove, is that the premises are a dwelling (used wholy or partly for the purposes of habitation), however occupied and that the person entering does not have permission (expressed or implied) to enter. The obvious further points are that a tresspasser entered with the intention to dishonestly appropriate, commit assault, crim dam, ect ect.
  9. Yes, but I suspect enforcing that will require the complicity of the CoC. If such complicity is forthcoming, then the CoC could also say that the contractors have committed trespass - they were given permission to enter to do work, not to play the guitar, watch telly, etc.

    I think perhaps the best way to move forward would be to use HnS (seeing as there were females around!) - duty of care towards workers. Lone female in a room and contractors given carte blanche access to otherwise locked rooms.

    Just thinking out loud!
  10. No dramas mate, I agree that a the best way forward isn't dealing with these prats in a criminal context, although if the brass aren't willing to co-opertae it is often the only way forward.
    The CoC is also obliged to fulfill his duties as a statutory body in ensuring compliance with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, there appear to be grounds that these lads arent being afforded adequate protection under this legislation either.
  11. Outrageous. Start by keeping a record of these incidents. (Times, details, explanation supplied, names - make a point of taking names). Any BAFF members involved, please get in touch.
  12. Using the CoC if your CSM has failed to do anything go above him and speak to your OC or RSM - and explain the situation to them.
  13. Thanks everyone for the advice - going for broke tomorrow.