House of Lords to consider police jurisdiction over armed forces sex assault allegations

Rhicha Kapila

The House of Lords will today debate whether the investigation of alleged sexual assault in the armed forces should be carried out by civilian police instead of senior military officers.

An amendment to the Armed Forces Bill, backed by Labour peers, will be debated this afternoon at the bill’s report stage, The Brief reports.

Solicitor Rhicha Kapila of Bolt Burdon Kemp told The Brief: “It is right for such investigations to be taken away from commanding officers and put into the hands of the police.

“It is becoming increasingly apparent that sexual complaints, minor or otherwise, are being ignored and investigations delayed or poorly executed.”

Barrister Adam Walker, of 7 Bedford Row, added: “It is fundamental that the investigating authority is and is seen to be independent, particularly in the most serious of cases.

“These distressing crimes take place away from the theatre of war and the involvement of civilian police in these investigations should be welcomed.”

An Armed Forces Bill must be passed by Parliament every five years in order to maintain a standing army, which would otherwise be illegal under the Bill of Rights 1689.

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