Troops investigated on Rounds fired in Helmund.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jonwilly, Aug 28, 2006.

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  1. Yes it is - here's the Telegraphs version

    'Dozens of troops face threat of court after opening fire in Afghanistan
    By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
    (Filed: 27/08/2006)

    The threat of prosecution is hanging over dozens of British soldiers fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

    Six "shooting" inquiries have been launched by the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police (RMP) into the actions of troops suspected of breaching the Army's strict rules for opening fire in battle.

    The inquiries could lead to dozens of soldiers being charged with murder or manslaughter and, if found guilty, being jailed. The investigations follow orders by senior officers at the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood, Middlesex, that all shooting incidents in Afghanistan involving "death or injury" of civilians or rebels must be fully investigated.

    However, senior officers believe that, given the harsh conditions facing soldiers in Afghanistan, the policy is unworkable and will damage morale. British soldiers have fought more than 40 battles with the Taliban, killing an estimated 700 insurgents and wounding many more.

    Twenty British soldiers have been killed on Operation Herrick, the codename for Afghan missions, since 2001. Commanders admit that troops are close to exhaustion.

    The Special Investigation Branch is called in if it appears that a soldier may have engaged in criminal activity or breached the Army's rules of engagement. A report on the investigation is passed to military lawyers within the Army Prosecuting Authority, the military equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service, who decide whether the soldier will be charged and court martialed.

    In Afghanistan, soldiers are required to fill in a serious incident report, in which they record the time of the incident, the action they took, how many bullets were fired and whether they believed their actions caused death or injury. These reports are then checked, usually by a captain, who can pass on to the RMP those which he believes require further investigation. It is believed that 28 reports have so far been drawn up by officers after shooting incidents in Afghanistan, 22 have been dismissed, one is under consideration and six are under RMP investigation.

    One senior officer said it was ridiculous that soldiers were being asked to complete questionnaires after every battle. He said: "British soldiers are fighting a bitter counter-insurgency in Afghanistan and they are expected to account for every bullet they fire. Now they face the prospect that if they make a mistake in the heat of battle they could be investigated, court martialed and imprisoned."

    Patrick Mercer, the Tory shadow homeland security minister, said: "Lt Gen David Richards [the most senior British officer in Afghanistan] described this operation as the worst and most sustained fighting since the Korean War. We can't expect soldiers to be handcuffed in what amounts to open warfare in the same way as they had previously been in Iraq." The investigations policy has given rise to fears that less-experienced soldiers might put lives at risk by hesitating before firing. A similar policy in Iraq, where the RMP investigated more than 150 shooting incidents, has proved highly controversial. Only one case has been successfully prosecuted, but it has prompted a confidential study into "a growing fear of prosecution".

    The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the RMP was conducting six "shooting investigations" in Afghanistan. They declined to give details of the incidents or number of soldiers involved.'
  2. I find this absolutely fcuking bizarre. When will somebody in the chain of comd (OC, CO?) stand up and say "enough!"

    Alternatively, the monkeys can collect the paperwork from the respective 'platoon houses'.

    Are the shots fired which killed British soldiers investigated?

  3. Absolutely astounding!

    I hope this is simply a bit of posturing by the British government so as to be seen to be doing the right thing.

    If not, well.. there comes a point when enough is enough.

    "Like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500"
  4. Soldiers are Soldiers, Army.
    They are not Police and are not trained, let alone Paid, to Police standards.
    To expect a serviceman on the front line, risking his neck against a determined enemy to 'Account' for rounds fired is beyond my belief.
    Any Cretin out there wishing to stand up and be identified as the Person who gave this order to fighting men, putting life and limb on the line to follow procedures that have only recently become Police procedure in 'Civilised' lands.
    john disgusted.
  5. What, people are surprised? This was always going to happen and theres no point in blaming the monkeys - it's down to the current climate of appeasement and absence of backbone by the government AND senior officers.
  6. I think we have to give the government a bit of slack.
    They are simply drab functionaries who will carry on making weak decisions until their hand is forced.
    This is the way it's always been.

    Who doesn't feel confident with great statesmen like John "Lionheart" Prescott behind us.
    Let's not forget great patriots like George "Will sever own gonads to appear on TV" Galloway and Jeremy "Support our boys in NI" Corbyn.
  7. It's gotta be a wind-up, or disinformation. surely some senior grown-ups would have said something by now.

    Wouldn't they? :?
  8. It strikes me as slightly ironic that the Bliar government supported Israel in its attack on Lebanon, where the loose interpretation of rules of engagement resulted in many innocent lives lost, but the same government cannot find the backbone to fully support its own troops in difficult circumstances whilst they conduct foreign policy!
  9. Good Point, well made.

    Breathtaking double standards. It will lower morale, because the investigative skills of the SIB is on a par with Officer Dibley. That will result in prosecutions due to poor prep and as soon as a half decent civvy brief gets his teeth into it, it will be chucked out, not before causing massive damage in morale not just to the individuals involved, never mind the rest of the unit.

    Get these champagne socialists out NOW.
  10. Why don't we cut out the middle men (the monkeys), and have a Member of Parliament embedded with each front-line unit? Then the twåts could see first hand where the rounds are going.

    If the cnuts do not trust their own soldiers, then they should make alterations to the way we are trained, not put men who are under pressure under even more.

    This blame culture is really starting to get me down. It'll end in revolution!!
  11. I think we can rest assured that not every incident will be investigated. With the number of rounds that have been fired, of all calibre, and the high no of TICs there would only be a review in the most contentious of cases.
    It is not like previous conflicts where you are counting your rounds in and out and having to account for every round fired. The ROE have even been made more permissive to take account of the threat - so it is not all bad news.
  12. In the same vein, given the need to normalise the situation, I am suprised that patrol commanders don't have to complete a formal Risk asessment prior to leaving there compunds on patrol. I think subjects to be considered would include:

    Are the roads safe?
    Are there any roads?
    Are all vehicle lights clean and operational - are vehicles 1st paraded.?
    What are local conditions?
    Do we have Arty and CAS oncall?

    These are the kind of things that the S*it in Bulk need to investiagte?
  13. Is there food and water available for the duration of your stay would be a topical one
  14. I would like to know what retread2 is inferring about RMP having to collect the paperwork from the houses!!
    Also yet again another serious topic descends into slagging off RMP/SIB, and is not concentrating on the main issue of those at PJHQ giving the directive for those uncalled for and lunatic investigations.