Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by chocolate_frog, Mar 8, 2009.
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Might be deep pockets time for the MoD, or wage cuts for the worker bees who knows....
Seems like a few of the commenters don't understand it's about providing adequate equipment to do the job, rather than saying soldiers cannot be put into dangerous situations.
Personally, I don't see how people can disagree with this.
AFAIK the MOD already has a reasonable duty of care for all employees including soldiers under employment legislation, and this extends further than just banning people from changing the lightbulbs in their office. What changes will this bring around?
The whole point is that the MoD have to put soldiers in extremely dangerous situations, indeed potentially fatal ones. That does not mean that they should just accept that casualties will happen and take every measure to prevent injuries or fatalities from occuring.
If it costs more in fines and compensation for the MoD to not use the latest and most effective equipment then we shall see that equipment entering service a lot sooner than we do nowadays.
Because war is dangerous does not mean all precautionary and protective measures should not be deployed.
Snatch is a prime example, an 'it'll do' attituse from the MOD but of no real use in protecting people from the threat.
They should be careful, too much pressure may force the MoD to seek exemption, at least from parts of the law, or under certain circumstances. IIRC it was discussed before, as said above there is already duty of care, both in law and under a moral obligation by the CoC.
Is this not due to be tested in the Courts sometime soon-I thought I read that the family of a soldier who died in a Snatch were taking moD/SoS to court over the incident.
Below is the Equality and Human Rights Commission's press release about the court case. (I dont think they will mind it being quoted fairly fully).
No, it's about respecting human, and particularly soldier's lives and doing all we can to safeguard them in dangerous situations.
I may be wrong but I'm led to believe Snatch were deployed to Afghanistan in response to the largely ballistic threat at the time. That threat has now evolved into that of mainly IEDs, to which Snatch offer little or no protection - especially underneath.
I know the IPTs at Abbeywood are working their socks off trying to introduce new kit at the frontline which is capable of doing the job. This doesn't happen overnight because trials have to be done to ensure the kit will operate with all the add-ons (Bowman, Armour, ECM etc). It's no use sending a bit of kit straight to the front line which will definately protect the crew from an IED if, however, it is extremely unlikely to get anymore than 20 miles down the road before burning its clutch out due to the excess weight it's carrying. There is kit on the way but it needs to be trialled so all potential dramas can be ironed out and we don't just introduce a different life-endangering problem.
When you take a step back and look at the situation, the finger of blame can be pointed at a number of places. Are the ones at fault those who failed to identify the evolving threat until it was too late - leaving us in the situation we are now? Or is it those who decided that Snatch was what was needed over there? (Personally, I believe they were only acting on the information they were given regarding the threat in theatre and the funding available). Or, like me, do you think the blame lies entirely with the man who has been cutting the defence budget since 1997????
I tend to agree with you about where the blame lies. When you set up a culture of miserliness then you don't pave the way for experimentation and ennovation. Barnes Wallis had a problem getting the bouncing bomb trialled but that was more to do with the shere volume of new, innovative and hair-brained schemes around during WW2.
Until the Government decides that it must address this problem fully (and that means chucking an awful lot of money at it) then it is difficult to see, given the limited commercial applications of such vehicles, that a private company is going to finance such research.
The current position is that the MOD has the normal employer's duty of care to its employees in normal peacetime situations including training. But when engaged in combat there is in law no duty of care owed by MOD to a soldier or by one soldier to another soldier. This has been tested a number of times in the courts a recent example being Ministry of Defence vs Mulcahy in 1996. It will be interesting to see whether the application of the Human Rights legislation/principles can change this position.
Sending troops into war zones with inadequate equipment is indefensible. Their masters have a duty of care and sending a soldier out on patrol with defective equipment smacks of negligence, never mind "a breach of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act - the right to life."
Going back to the ruling on 11 April 2008: "The decision was a legal defeat for Defence Secretary Des Browne who also had his attempt to ban coroners from using critical phrases such as "serious failure" rejected. "
Mr Justice Collins makes a valid point " British servicemen and women were entitled to some measure of legal protection "wherever they may be", he said.
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