Should Blandford be a dry camp for Phase2 Training

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by Disco, Dec 12, 2005.

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  1. You may have noticed the media shifting its attention to Blandford


    Reply from the Cmdr

    Both are tragic cases but one thing that was common to both was alcohol. Both had been drinking and that is the worst thing to do if you are having problems.

    Given that the majority of Phase 2 are below 19 years of age would a ban of alcohol to phase 2 soldiers on the camp and the local area be of benefit? After all they are there to learn and train and alcohol can have a negative effect undermining what they are trying to acheive. There is the discipline side too but would discipline problems move from alcohol to other things?

    However the fact is that most are 18 which is a legal age to drink, and a ban can be perceived as too much "nanny state". This is where it comes down to statistics after all these deaths are a rare occurance.

    Would an alcohol ban improve or deepen issues such as bullying and discipline?

    Any serious thoughts?
  2. I'm sure one of the incidents happened after a period of non drinking (spent up after Xmas) and happened on the first pay day afterwards.

    Banning drink on camp may just store the problem up (and would be deeply unpopular)
  3. It should be kept to an absolute minimum during the week, maybe even dry. They are there to learn and alchol does make things worse than they already are if you are having problems.

    Unfortuanly I went through Junior training, so I can't really draw on my own training experience, as we were dry anyway due to our age.

    Maybe they should be "entertained" also, I remember having to turn up to various sports and hobbies when I was in training, maybe a similar thing could be implemented.

    Bit more "quality" time with them by the NCOs on camp to keep them busy.
  4. Since the 2 can rule was enforced and the phase 2s lost thier bar the number of drink related problems seems to have dropped dramatically. I don't think that banning phase 2s from drinking down town is a good idea- they need to let thier hair down the same as everyone else, it would also affect the local nightlife trade quite badly.
  5. Yes - at the very least put them back on a properly governed two can rule (with ration cards if needed).

    Stop them going down town and getting shedded too.
  6. ^ Agreed CF. We also had to attend hobbies/sports twice a week in juniors. The thing is, I really enjoyed them and did things I would never have done had it been left up to my choice.

    NCO involvement in these hobbies and sports is also a must. It allows both parties to relax in each others company and the lads and lassies get to see a side of their NCO's that would not normally show when on duty during the day.
  7. CF you touched on a good point there, Blandford used to have quite an array of out of hours hobbies/workshops etc and although funding was available interest in running the clubs had dried up. Im not sure how many run at the moment.

    There are plenty of competitions and events with out of hours training etc and the Sqns are always out in force to support so they are not just left in their pits to fezz.
  8. Whilst I can appreciate your sentiment, there are simply not enough NCOs to 'babysit' trainees in the evening. The NCOs responsible for the trainees are, typically, responsible for administration of trainees - the instructors deal with the training day whilst the NCOs see their trainees at specific points in the day (first parade, lunch time, knock off etc). To expect one NCO to deal with up to 75 trainees is simply impractical.

    In my humble opinion, the Sqn NCOs have too many trainees to have the professional relationship which would be expected at a normal unit, where one Cpl would typically have 12-15 Juniors maximum to supervise. Having said that, it is also impractical to post more NCOs in to the Sqns - they would simply be under-employed (and therefore not cost-effective 8O ). It is clear that you would not expect to have 6 Cpls in one office to supervise the administration of 20 trainees each.

    Having said all that, these trainees are (virtually) all adults. They have to take responsibility for their own actions, and understand that their actions will have consequences. We are training these people to be members of a robust organisation - nannying them is almost certainly counter-productive.

    Whilst I am not going to quote ATRA policy here, the Phase 1 establishments are mandated to allow recruits a certain degree of free time. No longer is the duty Cpl supposed to be in the recruit accommodation supervising them until lights-out. Perhaps a contentious issue, but it is the way it is happening.....

    To address Disco's point; banning alcohol would, IMHO, simply drive the problems from the bar (where it is easily monitored by both bar staff and duty personnel) to the "underground" covert drinking in the accommodation (which, by its very nature is unmonitored).

  9. Part of the problem is the upgrader courses are harder now and we parading alot more than i remember seeing upgraders do when I was my class 3 which from what i remember was the main source for club organisation.
  10. A lot of it comes down to the fact that they have just spent a good few months in phase 1 without being able to drink. They then get to Blandford and go on a total blow out, plus reiterating what everybody else has said, there is nothing else to do of an evening. There is nothing down town and they have to be home too early to travel anywhere. Extending the curfew would probably just lead to more drinking down town.

    Banning drinking at Blandford would just move the problem onto the working unit. Lots of sprogs coming through who had not learnt how to drink properly. Lets face it a lot of the army social life is drinking. Rules need to be in place to encourage safe drinking. Maybe even down to letting them share the bar with upgraders, who whilst not becoming their parents, could help them out and also keep them a bit more sensible in the bar.

    These types of incidents at Blandford, it was the same when I was there in 1999, a few suicide attempts then. I don't know what it is like now but back then there would usually be a fight a night or at least one a week minimum.

    Do they still have lots of recruits sat around in Coma troop all day with nothing to do? that certainly never used to help.
  11. Banning or restricting drinking would simply store up problems until being posted to a working unit. young soldiers need to learn to be responsible for their actions including pissing it up the proverbial wall, maybe a closely monitored (more so than working unit) training establishment such as blandford maybe the place for them to do this.

    As for the suicide attempts etc if you took a representative sample (age gender etc etc) from the general population these incidents would probably be more prevalent in civilian life.

    quote="devilish"]^ Agreed CF. We also had to attend hobbies/sports twice a week in juniors. The thing is, I really enjoyed them and did things I would never have done had it been left up to my choice.

    NCO involvement in these hobbies and sports is also a must. It allows both parties to relax in each others company and the lads and lassies get to see a side of their NCO's that would not normally show when on duty during the day.[/quote]

    devilish seem to remember your particularly strict non drinking stance when you where last at blandford! hey! :wink: :wink:

    edited to add jest265's post beat me to it
  12. This was discussed in depth about 10 months ago here just after the events higlighted by disco occured.

    My opinion on the matter is that removing alochol completely is a very very bad idea. Alcohol is a part of military life, more bonding and team building is done in the bar after exercise than can be done in the WRVS playing table tennis. Prohibition doesnt work simple as. If you remove the option to drink you force it underground so to say. The last thing that Blandford needs is trainees getting mullered in the blocks and away from a controlled enviroment. The solution is to give them something else to do other than drink. Ok on a friday night a 19 year old will go down town and get drunk, thats what 19 year olds do. C_F has said more extra curricular activities however when during my class 1 i tried to to organise something, i was stopped and told i was not alowed to interact with trainees. How are we expected to guide the trainees and assist the troop cadre if we are not alowed to without one of them being there.

    We need to stop wiping the trainees arrses for them. These are soldiers let them fcuk up and let them deal with the consequences. If we stop them drinking in training what will happen when they get out to the real army and they get dragged down town for the first time? All of a sudden units have to start dealing with soldiers who have never been drinking in a military enviroment before and cannot handle it. Wether it is right or wrong the new siggie on the shop floor will get taken down town by the grizzly full screw and have a large amount of ale poured down him. He will then be expected to be able to deal with himself and get himself to work in the morning. Training is not just about teaching somebody to do their job it's about teaching them everything else that comes with the army as well.

    On a final note if you stop them drinking then the soldier will just go home every weekend and have even less interaction with his colleagues and then when he leaves training he will expect to be able to go home every weekend and the you have the problem of everybody wanting postings near to home and the friday exodus leaving people like me and smoojalooge who don't like our family to have to go out and drink on our own. This creates even less team bonding in the unit and then creates the problem of gong on exercise and you have the new guy moaning like fcuk because he's had to go away and not got the chance to go home to see his 16 year old chavvette fiance.
  13. ^ Ha, ha. I think you will find that on that occassion I was, infact, phase 3 and only drank when the situation allowed for it.;-)
  14. I'll have you know I like my family, just in small doses.
  15. When the situation allowed every waking moment you piss head porridge wog, good job the naafi didn't sell buckfast