Memorandum submitted by Airwaves
1. Airwaves, the Communication Channel for
RAF Families, is grateful to the Select Committee for the opportunity
to comment on the Armed Forces Bill.
2. The implications for families within
the provisions of the Bill appear to us to fall within the following:
(a) Part II Powers of Entry Search and Seizure.
Whilst several of the clauses in Part II would appear to have
an implication for the privacy of Service Families Accommodation
(in particular clause 9, Entry for Purposes of Arrest), there
are safeguards in clause 3.
(b) Part III Trial and Punishment of Offences.
Clauses 29 and 30, dealing with Custody and Conditional Release
from Custody might be seen as in fact offering an improvement
to the current situation from the viewpoint of dependant families
of the accused or convicted party.
(c) Part V Miscellaneous and General. Under
Clause 36, Miscellaneous Amendments, (Schedule 7, Part VI) both
Marriages in Service Chapels and Children in Respect of Whom Protective
Orders May Be Given, are positive measures for families.
3. Service personnel recognise that, whilst
in our daily lives we are bound by the same laws as every citizen,
there is a need for the Services to be able to exercise disciplinary
measures in addition to these. Occasionally that will have an
impact on families. At the same time they need to be assured that
they have the same degree of protection offered by the law as
everyone else, and the Armed Forces Bill would appear to clarify
the limits of extra authority traditionally wielded by the Services,
and the safeguards applying to those powers.
4. Airwaves has no evidence of any wider
issues affecting families in relation to the operation of Service
disciplinary measures, other than the length of time which sometimes
occurs between arrest and trial, which I understand is in fact
no less in the civilian courts.