RMP on R4

#1
BBC linky

Whilst running the usual risk of this thread decending into a petty squabble; this may be worth a listen.

File On 4 2000 GMT, Radio 4, Tuesday 10 March 2009.
 
#2
Interesting but as with much media, there is insufficient information in the article to establish the base of the (any) argument. Assuming for a moment the implied competence ascertation is correct; I wonder who the BBC thinks should conduct investigations on operations?
 
#3
As NT said, probably worth listening to the Programme first.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#4
I just did. Not looking good is it? Some pretty fair comment. Wonder who the senior investigator was (voice disguised)? It didn't deal solely with ops either.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#5
Daxx said:
Interesting but as with much media, there is insufficient information in the article to establish the base of the (any) argument. Assuming for a moment the implied competence ascertation is correct; I wonder who the BBC thinks should conduct investigations on operations?
Oh yes there was.
 
#6
Neat the way PM(A) used HMIC 1 to assert his investigators were fully capable. Such a pity the guy questioning him hadn't heard of HMIC 2.
If the story re the barmaid was correct, there is not a lot in PM(A) going on about operating in sandy places; they cannot even get things correct in good old Germany. I was amazed at the way the informant was (mis)handled.
The now-locked thread mentioned a number of adverse comments from people who know but it seems there were plenty more. I take it that the CO still signs off the covering letter to the investigator's report. So, why are all these highly-trained and especially selected officers not seeing what dross is in the report? Do they not read them or do they not know how to verify that the job is fit to be released into the open?
 
#7
Only way forward is to take the RMP out of the Army in much the same way as KMar in the Netherlands.
 
#8
I think the whole organisation needs to be looked at by an independent non-military police review body. The things they were mentioning on the programme were spot on. I hope the SIB have moved on from various levels of management 'red-penning' statements of its investigators. I think the biggest problem is the lack of experience of major enquiries that they get involved in. To investigate murder and covert investigations you need to be doing it all the time to ensure the required skills and experience are in place. I think that secondments to civil police murder squads, crime squads, sexual offences units should be a major part of SIB training. ORC, I think, has mentioned that this was the norm many years ago.

Having listened to the broadcast, I'll think twice about mentioning to anyone that I used to be in the Branch.

It’s a shame it’s come to this. I would imagine that the MOD are going to have to sort this mess out now that it’s hit the press. Hope old Findlay's got a good job lined up! He was so far on the back foot during that interview; I'd recommend him as a Strictly Come Dancing candidate

:D
 
#9
pandaplodder said:
Only way forward is to take the RMP out of the Army in much the same way as KMar in the Netherlands.
Whilst the KM has a wide range of likely looking tasks, the actual policing within the Armed Forces is done by KMOO, the Military Police Service My experience when in liaison with them from Belgium was that the Military Police branch guys got kicked into MOO and were likely to stay there for their whole service. They did very little investigative work - this was handled by the regular police as if the soldier were a citizen. So, in terms of investigations such as now handled by SIB, no real improvement. The opinion we see here (which together with HMIC 1 and HMIC 2 is all this old Branch bloke has to go on), is that the Branch is broken and needs fixing. Mere replacement by another (unknown?) body is not the answer; I appreciate that is the way the government does things now. The developments since my days have been many but may be summed up as the emplacement of more officers in more posts drawn from the OR element as well as the usual suspects. It is not for me to suggest why these procedures have made such a mess of what was something that was fit for purpose despite allegations of having been a hard drinking culture with blokes in flares and dodgy taches. Even with some hard thinking and consultations of old colleagues, I cannot remember a climate then of so many adverse comments as we have of the modern establishment with their slimline tonics and jogging.
The responsibility lies with whoever signs the covering letter to the report. Their reputation and career should stand or fall on the work they release. Being in charge of a load of cowboy investigators is hard; the supervisor cannot be at their shoulder all the time. They may all leave morning prayers with the work for the day all OKd by the WO and then go off and do as they please.
The officers will tell you they are in charge of the blokes. Fine - if a job goes adverse or tits up, then the officer's cojones are on the line. We used to have all sorts of weird blokes brought in as OC Sections before the Corps had its own officers. Very few of them lasted beyond their first annual report - if that long. We kept on dumping the rubbish till we got some that stuck. It worked.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#10
A KMar style organisation may solve the operational issues which are constantly wheeled out in defence, but would it solve the non-operational matters? The programme recognised the difficulties faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, but what was brought out by the programme wasn't an operational issue or any question of the ability of RMP to 'soldier'. What was in question was pretty much how RMP have conducted some of their enquiries and I would hasten to clarify 'some'. For every faulted enquiry, there are many professionally conducted and successfully concluded enquiries. I don't include homicide in that number as there have been so few, although of that number some of those have been mismanaged and previously reported on, and there's no getting away from that. The issues brought out were pretty basic stuff. In the cases brought out, evidence handling, continuity and knowledge of the law in relation to evidence were fairly criticised. Is this a wider problem for RMP though? I don't think that it is. The two incidents in Germany were particularly embarrassing. The one in the pub was bad enough, but the Covert matter was down right ludicrous. Who sanctioned that? The RMP may be out of the chain where enquiries are concerned, but surely someone should have been disciplined for that fiasco. PM (A) ducked and dived all the way throughout the programme. He appeared almost insulted by the fact that he was being questioned. Without repeating the HMIC thread (he threw the first report in as a defence as predicted), he was fortunate not to have been faced with findings of the 2nd HMIC report. Shiner hasn't fully done his homework, but the matters he highlighted were cringeworthy. The points brought out by the 'former' SIB investigator were pretty much as would have been expected given the managment of the covert element at that time. But what of overall command? What about the managment of SIB (G) at that time? Would the CO, and in particularly the 2IC who was very much the 'policing' decision maker in (G), have had some control or say in that matter? The sad thing about this is, that the vast majority of RMP who are more than capable in both Ops and Policing have been roped into this whole issue, by virtue of being in the organisation who's role will be questioned next month. And knowing just how professional many of them are, that is a very sad and unfair set of circumstances. The 2nd report might get an airing there along with some very awkward questions. Shame that the person on the receiving end will be the new guy and not the outgoing PM (A). The whole matter comes down to the management of the organisation. I doubt that we'll ever see a KMar style organisation. If they wanted that, the MDP would be the starting point and would end up running it. Next months enquiry will be interesting. The content will certainly be highlighted here, but are the MDP management at this moment in time, sat back contemplating an expansion in numbers, responsiblity and more importantly, budget?

Secondments to local Constabularies would be a good thing for SIB, inparticularly for the Officers, but in fairness, the early f*ck ups in Iraq, weren't managed by SIB Officers. They were managed by inexperienced DE Officers who were listening to the wrong people, who were in the SIB and who were cuffing it. I don't include PJ in that number. In fairness to the outgoing PM, he wasn't even in the chair then.
 
#11
Alternative to us sending guys to the Met would be a re-run of the Campion thing where we got 19 experienced detectives to sort out a load of 'just growed' investigative resources. Much used to be made of the 'soldiers first and investigators second' mantra which was daft as there were 000s of soldiers and only 237 investigators but it does look as if the 'soldiers first' thing has come about. My impression was always that one could not run a SIB section like a Guards Bde cadre (or even a Pioneer Corps burial party!) and my interpretation of what gives now is that the Soldiers First mantra has got in the way of the professional work. Certainly, my best (i.e. most effective and productive) Officers Commanding were very relaxed in the military department. They had earned respect rather than it being something demanded.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#12
As ST says though, it's a shame that it has come to this, but will next month bring a decision for the greater good or will it be the case of the new guy shrugging his shoulders at the hearing and telling them that he wasn't in charge at the material time, which would result in a purely one way conversation? The outgoing PM should not be allowed to avoid that enquiry. Both he and the bloke before him should be called back. Each of the events where SIB have recieved justifiable criticism, occurred during both of their tenures. I don't think that we'll see the demise of RMP because of SIB faults, but after all of the high level criticisms, maybe the writing is on the wall for the SIB.
 
#13
Awful lot of one post posters popping up. Is that you Lenny?

'Da man on da radio' (isn't that racist?). I take it you mean PM(A)?
 
#15
Suffice to say, the main point of the reply is to say: Lap it up suckers, must be all true - after all the man on 'da radio said so. Baaa.
I don't know about anyone with any grudges, I left the Branch on good terms and I still have friends serving.

The man on the radio is a BBC journalist, not some hack reporter from a daily gossip sheet and the report does raise many valid concerns. Rather than have a go a some of the above posters, perhaps you can put the record straight regarding the highlighted incidents?

As far as qualifications re covert investigations, you don't expect anyone here to post their CV on here do you? How about you telling us about your ample experiences first of all. I am serving in a large city police force and I have a fair experience of proactive operations. Based on the details as broadcast, the operation re the participating CHIS got very out of hand. It sounds like the person running the informant got hoodwinked by their source and made too many promises they shouldn't have made. Not the first time this has happened. It is one of many pitfalls of working too closely with criminals. It was due to incidents like this that many home office forces changed their guidlines and management of source handling.
 
#16
RMP and in particular SIB seem to be flavour of the month at the moment and that is only to be expected with the current high profile SIB enjoys. The upcoming court case will be interesting.

As for whether the SIB are up to the task of investigating these incidents - if not the SIB then who? Do we really believe that the MDP are about to don helmets and walk around Sangin Valley when good money can be made at home. SIB are highly unlikely to have the resources afforded to CivPol and therefore HOLMES etc will never be properly utilised - not without a substantial increase in staff and who is willing to pay for that??

As for mistakes, there has obviously been a few despite the PM's attempt to answer for the rmp side. It was clear the PM was unable to comment fully as cases are ongoing. I would also suggest that cases could be found in any police force in the UK where procedure has not been followed correctly or police officers have behaved inappropriately. That is not to condone such behaviour but the comments made on the program need to be relative. As for Mr Shiner and the upcoming case, we will just have to wait and see.

As for the argument that soldiers are investigating soldiers - are civilians not investigating civilians in the 'real world'.
 
#17
That must be the full house from HQ SIB :D

I think a very good question is being raised, ''does the Army have sufficient expertise and experience to investigate serious and complicated issues?"

Now there is a lot of nonsense suggested about 'who else could' 'operations' and 'jurisdiction'. At the end of the day that is all nonsense.

PM(A) did not come across as the man with the answers the other night. Just an over promoted Major who was p1ssed off with being challenged.

Apart from exaggerating the findings of HMIC he merely regurgitated the same waffle that he put forward in 2006.

What is in issue is that UK plc requires an organisation that can fulfil the requirements of the current operational environment. Between 2003 and 2009 the existing organisation has not achieved that
 
#18
Regarding Western's points, I couldn't disagree more. The SIB has uniquely met the challenges of investigating crime in an operational environment in the last six years. The only resource/expertise that has been lacking is manpower. Of course if we could have borrowed a couple of Chief Inspectors from the Met Murder Squad we might have had a smoother start, though I doubt it. The environments SIB was operating in would have been alien to them as well and they would have suffered the same frustrations of getting to scenes, following through on enquiries etc. Importantly and contrary to popular belief the SIB does have experience of investigating serious crime including murder – BFG, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cyprus, Falklands, GW 1 etc. The organisation has not just been investigating GBH for the last 60 years or so.

There is no other agency in the UK who could have achieved what SIB has achieved. Of course there have been mistakes but most importantly the organisation has learnt from them and moved on. This should be the cornerstone of any organisation and self criticism is an important part of learning and making sure mistakes are not repeated.

It could be argued that the UK and the USA military were not fit for purpose in fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if you listen to one sided media coverage. However, as can be seen in Iraq lessons were learnt and we move slowly and painfully to a more stable environment. Additional resources are now being thrown at Afghanistan.

The operational tempo issue is key. Unless you have worked in the environment you will not understand. Quite clearly it will not always be possible to conduct investigations of serious crimes in a hostile and dangerous environment in the same way as you would in the UK. This does not stop the SIB from trying. There is a danger that one or two fcuk ups are used to suggest, as is happening in this forum, that the entire organisation is unfit for purpose and the 99% of jobs that have been investigated fully, properly and professionally are simply forgotten about.

I for one am immensely proud of the work the lads and lasses have achieved.
 
#19
**** said:
Regarding Western's points, I couldn't disagree more. The SIB has uniquely met the challenges of investigating crime in an operational environment in the last six years.
Not just six years. Although NI was very small beer in comparison, it did have it's moments. After Internment we had investigators trapped in inf locations for three days before we could extract them. In two of these, they picked up a spare SLR and joined in the defence.
The only resource/expertise that has been lacking is manpower. Of course if we could have borrowed a couple of Chief Inspectors from the Met Murder Squad we might have had a smoother start, though I doubt it.
What's this 'smoother start'? The investigative side - which is all that a Met CID person could contribute - the Branch goes back to 1939 and before. That is a long start-up period isn't it?
The environments SIB was operating in would have been alien to them as well and they would have suffered the same frustrations of getting to scenes, following through on enquiries etc.
But at least the existing investigators would have had an opportunity to have received training in warlike conditions and the excuse of environment would not have been so readily available. How many inf blokes say from within a FOB "oh this is frustrating/difficult/scary"?
Importantly and contrary to popular belief the SIB does have experience of investigating serious crime including murder – BFG, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cyprus, Falklands, GW 1 etc. The organisation has not just been investigating GBH for the last 60 years or so.
All the more reason therefore to have expected them to be adapted to the environmental/access etc conditions and done better than they seem to have done.
There is no other agency in the UK who could have achieved what SIB has achieved.
Easy to say - rather ther is no other agency - full stop We have no way empirically to measure what any other agency might do. But - were there not some RAFP made available? Did they deploy as investigators and how many jobs of theirs attracted adverse or worse comment?
Of course there have been mistakes but most importantly the organisation has learnt from them and moved on. This should be the cornerstone of any organisation and self criticism is an important part of learning and making sure mistakes are not repeated.
HMIC 1 and HMIC 2 gave just the same opportunity of mistake correction and re-org improvement but those opportunities seem to have been overblown and disappointing respectively.
It could be argued that the UK and the USA military were not fit for purpose in fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if you listen to one sided media coverage. However, as can be seen in Iraq lessons were learnt and we move slowly and painfully to a more stable environment. Additional resources are now being thrown at Afghanistan.

The operational tempo issue is key. Unless you have worked in the environment you will not understand. Quite clearly it will not always be possible to conduct investigations of serious crimes in a hostile and dangerous environment in the same way as you would in the UK. This does not stop the SIB from trying. There is a danger that one or two fcuk ups are used to suggest, as is happening in this forum, that the entire organisation is unfit for purpose and the 99% of jobs that have been investigated fully, properly and professionally are simply forgotten about.
Someone should have recognised that the sandy places were not going to be a walk in the park. Someone should have recognised that especial attention was critical in re selecting those going there so that known fcuk-uppers were kept away.

I for one am immensely proud of the work the lads and lasses have achieved.
Glad you could join us Brigadier. Shame about Radio 4 though. Get thee to the Media Studio for some practice methinks.
 
#20
There does seem to be a common theme on Arrse for certain members of the Arrse community to take great delight in running down the SIB of today at every opportunity. Sadly, the three main antagonisers are ex-SIB themselves. It would appear that when they served, 'the Branch' never lost any case nor attracted any adverse publicity.

Does anyone on here know of any police force that isn't called into question at least once every couple of years? It usually happens about the time that a high profile case is lost. Having said this, I've not heard calls for the MoD Police or any other organisation to be called in to replace the Met Police, GMP, West Mids or any other force.

I have a suggestion to greatly improve the current system. Maybe Phil Shiner and his team, together with the doubters on here should consider signing up for the SIB TA and lead the next HERRICK SIB Section to show the current SIB just how it should be done.
 
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