Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

ATRA discipline guidance


  Within ATRA it is essential that staff maintain the highest standards of discipline and behaviour at all times. Discipline is to be enforced using only:

    (a)  The Military Justice System. Disciplinary action, where appropriate, is taken in accordance with the provisions of the Army Act 1955 (AA 55).

    (b)  Administrative Action. Administrative action is the way the Army, like any other employer, is entitled to respond whenever its personnel fail to behave in accordance with its rules or fail to meet the standards expected of them. It is to be taken in accordance with the procedures set out in AGAI 67 (Revised 2005).


  In the course of training soldiers it is important to understand that an individual cannot be expected to attain a standard of professional military behaviour until he or she has been fully trained to do so. The training in question will vary but may include bearing, turn-out and fitness or a sense of mental alertness and team spirit. In the course of this training it will be necessary provide a series of checks when individuals fail to conform to the standards that are required. This must be a just and logical process as follows:

    (a)  Teach. The required standard of military behaviour is taught to the soldier.

    (b)  Correct. If at first an individual demonstrates that he or she has not absorbed the training or if they stray from the normal course of disciplined military behaviour then a correction in the form of a simple verbal correction or where appropriate minor informal rebuke will be necessary. Where an individual or individuals are idle or inattentive then an immediate correction in the form of a brief period of physical activity such as press-ups or a short run are appropriate. However, it must be remembered that this is a correction and not a punishment. The aim must be to motivate the individual in an appropriate way so that his or her conduct or performance improves. Any correction in the form of physical activity must be carried out within the following strict limitations:

(a)  Short runs of no more than 200 metres.

(b)  Repetitive exercises eg sit-ups (max 15), press-ups (max 10) in one session.

(c)  The physical activity must never take place at a time when it might impair the individual's performance in training, such as immediately before or during a range practice.

(d)  The activity must not be repeated within a 45 minute period. If, despite correction, his or her performance continues to be unacceptable then minor administrative action is appropriate.

    (c)  Remedial Training. Remedial training will be necessary when despite having been corrected an individual continues to fail to demonstrate the professional standard required. Remedial training must always be reasonable, appropriate and corrective in nature. Therefore, in cases of poor turn-out or neglect of equipment an extra kit inspection would be appropriate. Remedial training is to serve only as an immediate restorative check on a single failing of individual performance or behaviour. It must never be imposed in a way that might humiliate, victimise or impose physical pain or harm on any individual. The defence guidelines for the use of remedial training are attached and a system for recording the award of remedial training is to be established.

    (d)  Minor Administrative Action. Should an individual consistently fail to demonstrate the required standard of professional military behaviour after appropriate training because he or she chooses not to do so, or is negligent, then minor sanctions within the guidance of AGAI 67 will be appropriate. The regulations are comprehensive and must be rigidly adhered to. The entire process for the award of minor sanctions and recorded oral warnings must be recorded. The detailed procedure to be followed is given at Annex C to AGAI 67.

    (e)  Major Administrative Action. Major administrative action will be taken for more serious failings. The details of the action to be taken in cases requiring major administrative action are given in AGAI 67.


  Disciplinary action is taken in accordance with the provisions of the Army Act 1955 (AA 55).

    (a)  Punishments. The punishments that may be awarded for disciplinary offences are listed in the Army Act 1955 and Queen's Regulations. The delegation of disciplinary powers by Commanding Officers to Subordinate Commanders is governed by the Custody and Summary Dealing (Army) Regulations (CSD(A)R) 2000, Regulations 8, 9 and 15. No further delegation is authorised. Unofficial punishments are not to be awarded.

    (b)  Disciplinary Chain of Command. Disciplinary matters are to be dealt with through the Regional Chain of Command. HQ ATRA is to be informed of all serious disciplinary cases that relate to the function or image of ATRA and of any cases that might arouse media interest. Updates on progress are to be passed to RO2 G1/MS.


  It is an abuse of power to punish anyone for something they did not do. It follows that collective sanctions are only permitted where the complete group committed the misdemeanour.


  Allegations or reports of ill treatment are to be investigated immediately. This includes allegations of inappropriate behaviour such as Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment. An explanation of what is considered to be bullying and harassment is given at Annex M to AGAI 67 and the "Conduct & Behaviour" section of this handbook. Discrimination is covered in the "Equal Opportunities and Diversity" section. The unit is to maintain a record of unsociable behaviour (bullying and harassment) and report all incidents using TAFMIS. This is to include all allegations, whether they are substantiated or not.


  Ill-Treatment within training establishments is unacceptable and there are comprehensive guidelines for dealing with allegations at Annex M to AGAI 67, which must be followed. Nevertheless due to the nature of the task and the initial lack of understanding of military discipline by recruits, it is possible for them to confuse rigorous but fair training with ill-treatment. COs of Training Establishments dealing with such allegations must therefore take particular care, while taking whatever action he considers necessary to separate alleged offender from victim, also to protect the rights of those accused.


  The Army Policy on Misuse of Drugs is contained in AGAI Vol 5 Instruction 004. The policy recognises that before joining the Army, recruits may well have used drugs and accepted the drugs culture as an ordinary way of life. The fact that drug misuse is illegal is generally overlooked, and it may come as a surprise to recruits that drug misuse is not tolerated. Early in their training recruits need to understand Army policy on drug misuse and the responsibilities of being a soldier are very different to those of being a civilian. The ATRA policy on drugs therefore is:

    (a)  All recruits are to be made aware of the penalties of drug misuse early in their training in accordance with Annex B to AGAI Vol 5 Instruction 004.

    (b)  Those concerned with training recruits are to be fully conversant with Annex C to AGAI Vol 5 Instruction 004.

    (c)  All recruits should undergo CDT between weeks five and eight of their training. Those who prove positive will not automatically be discharged but COs are to make a decision based on the recruit's performance and any other relevant factors.

    (d)  If at all possible all Ph2 trainees will undergo a CDT during their Ph2 training.

    (e)  PS, Ph2 and Ph3 trainees are trained soldiers and normal Army rules apply.


  Misuse of alcohol among Service personnel remains a serious problem. Recruits and trainees must be educated to recognise that excessive drinking is both unprofessional and dangerous. The consumption of alcohol by trainees is to be strictly regulated. COs are to produce a statement of the policy and associated regulations for the consumption of alcohol within their unit and are to deal severely with incidents of misuse of alcohol. In addition all commanders are to take particular care to control any occasions when PS and trainees drink together to ensure discipline and respect are not undermined.


  Commanding Officers are to be aware of the policy on Negligent Discharges (ND) issued by HQ Land in LANDSO 3201. That policy was derived from the operational standards required and was written for trained soldiers. Recruits are not classed as competent with a weapon until they have passed the relevant WHTs.

    (a)  Punishments. PS and Ph 3 trainees are all trained soldiers. The guideline for a first offence for a trained soldier is a fine equal to the offender's basic pay for 14 days. For recruits and even Ph 2 trainees COs may be more lenient depending on the circumstances of the case.

    (b)  Reporting. All NDs are to be reported on the ND Report Form 0011 contained in A&ER Vol 2 part 8 sect 5. This should be completed and sent to the local ATO.


  The Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct explains the Services' need for standards of social behaviour, which are more demanding than those required by society at large. For most recruits and trainees ATRA PS are the first regular servicemen they will have met, consequently they are expected to set an example in this regard. COs are to deal with all instances of social misconduct strictly in accordance with AGAI 67.


  Within ATRA units sexual relationships between a member of the permanent staff and any recruit or Ph 2 trainee, whether consensual or not, is not acceptable. This is to be published in Unit Orders and any contravention is to be dealt with seriously and is likely to result in the instructor being removed from post.

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Prepared 14 March 2005