Personally, I agree. I've served 12 years and seen and heard many nasty stories. I suspect I'm not the only one? Issue In the 1880's it was controversial to award COs power to inflict any greater than 7 days imprisonment. In 2012, COs have the power to routinely impose 28 days imprisonment, and if granted so-called extended powers (i.e. with their boss's permission), they can inflict 90 days imprisonment! Status Quo Powers of punishment are governed by Armed Forces Act 2006, Part 6, Chapter 1: Armed Forces Act 2006 and The Armed Forces (Summary Hearing and Activation of Suspended Sentences of Service Detention) Rules 2009: The Armed Forces (Summary Hearing and Activation of Suspended Sentences of Service Detention) Rules 2009 AFA 06, Section 133: 133 Detention: limits on powers (1) The maximum term of detention that a commanding officer may award under row 1 of the Table in section 132 to an able rate, marine, soldier or airman is— (a) 90 days if the commanding officer has extended powers for the purposes of this subsection; (b) otherwise, 28 days. Also explained in Joint Service Publication 830, The Manual of Service Law, Volume 1, Chapter 13, page 1-13-10 and Annex A (1-13-A-1): https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/27906/Ch13.pdf Historically (1879) Power of Commanding Officer. (Hansard, 20 June 1879) MR. RYLANDS considered there were strong arguments in favour of an Amendment of this character…. He held in his hand a Memorandum written by a colonel, holding at the present moment that rank in the Army, which said— …it is a very dangerous power to give to any man of that rank; And it went on to remark— In view of the idiots sometimes to be found in the command of regiments, it is a very dangerous power. MR. A. H. BROWN… the recommendations of the Royal Commission went further, for they proposed to extend the powers of a commanding officer in the case of all offences to a sentence of imprisonment for 21 days. To that recommendation he was entirely opposed. … MR. RYLANDS …when he considered that this power would be exercised in some cases by men of not altogether sound judgment, and that the more men that were sent to prison the more they injured the efficiency of the Force, he thought they should look with jealousy upon the power of a commanding officer to inflict such a punishment... evidence was given before them with reference to the number of summary punishments inflicted in different regiments, and it was shown that the number varied very much indeed. ...some commanding officers were a great deal more severe than others, and that while numerous punishments were inflicted in some regiments, in others the number of punishments inflicted was very small indeed. That was most important, as showing that in giving commanding officers these summary powers they ought to surround them with sufficient safeguards. Obvious questions for ARRSE I have my own opinions, but I'd more be interested to hear what other people think: Summary Hearings are secret (no public/press, and no reports), internal court proceedings, run by a single man (the CO) who has power of commander, trial judge, prosecutor, jury and sentencing judge. Even in 1879 politicians were afraid that they were dangerous powers in the hands of a single man. 1. Do you think that the the increase from 7 days imprisonment in 1879 to 90 days imprisonment in 2013 is fair to soldiers, or even necessary? We had a far larger Army in 1879 - why do officers (like me) need those powers now? 2. Regarding the "botched jailing of the SAS sergeant Danny Nightingale" - do you feel confident that whether or not you go to prison depends on whether or not your wife speaks to the Telegraph, and if the Secretary of State fancies writing to the Attorney General - or would you rather trust, professional, civilian courts? 3. "More than 200 complaints have taken more than a year" - do you trust the Service Complaints system? 4. "The Service complaints system, which is supposed to give military personnel an avenue to resolve problems, was set up six years ago in response to a scandal at Deepcut barracks between 1995 and 2002 when four soldiers died in mysterious circumstances amid reports of systematic bullying." Have we honoured the memories of the Deepcut dead, and are confident that if soldiers are mistreated in the British Army today, that it would be properly handled? (Not better handled - that wouldn't be hard, but *properly* handled) 5. How much variation is there in handling of Summary Hearings between different regiments, and between the Army, the RN and the RAF? In theory, everyone should be equal before the law. Is this the lived reality of service personnel? (Why are Summary Hearing results kept secret - we publish Courts Martial and Major AGAI Action results - but not Summary Hearings: what are we hiding?) 6. Any other comments on Courts Martial, Summary Hearing, AGAI 67, Service Complaints and the RMP/ALS?