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Bullying/Harassment

Defence written question – answered on 29th June 2005.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how many of the complaints under Army redress procedures upheld or partially upheld between 1997 and 2003 related to issues of bullying or harassment; and how many (a) officers, (b) non-commissioned officers and (c) private soldiers were disciplined as a result;

(2) how many complaints have been considered by the Army Board from soldiers who are serving, or who have served, at (a) Deepcut Barracks and (b) ITC Catterick since 1997; and how many of these complaints related to issues of bullying or harassment.

Photo of Don Touhig Don Touhig Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Veterans), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

Bullying is not a criminal offence, nor a clearly defined form of behaviour; there are various definitions that cover all forms of harassment, abuse or intimidation. Furthermore, complainants do not use a standard form of words and cases are recorded using the wording adopted by those making a complaint or seeking redress. Consequently, we are unable to identify every allegation, complaint or investigation that involves bullying without conducting a trawl of individual case records and archives, held in various databases and paper files. Our records do not lend themselves to the kind of analysis which these questions demand. Essentially, we would need to examine every case considered by the Army Board and make a judgment as to whether bullying or harassment were significant factors in the complaint. This would be extremely time consuming and it may not be immediately apparent whether this is the case or not. The scope for interpretation may also be quite wide. However, we have undertaken a rudimentary electronic search of our databases and spreadsheets to ascertain which complaints record allegations of bullying or harassment. This has highlighted eight cases, none of which relate to complaints upheld or partially upheld, by the Army Board.

None of the eight cases referred to relate to incidents alleged to have taken place at either Deepcut or Catterick.

Does this answer the above question?

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