Mil News Abuse of uniformed troops to become a crime

John A Silkstone

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By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent of the Times Newspaper.

Abusing troops in uniform will be treated as a criminal offence on a par with a racist attack under a package of Government-backed measures to improve relations between the public and the Armed Forces.

Following a series of incidents in which servicemen and women in uniform have been barred from stores or abused on the streets, a report ordered by the Prime Minister has recommended legislation to outlaw discrimination.

The Nation Recognition of our Armed Forces report, written by Quentin Davies, MP, highlighted one incident in which an officer in full dress uniform was refused entrance to Harrods after attending a Remembrance Sunday parade.

The store, owned by Mohamed Fayed, has insisted on barring troops in combat fatigues which the report said was “quite unacceptable”. Discrimination against members of the military should “not be tolerated”, the report said, especially against those who “risk their lives for their country”.

Mr Davies recommended that assaults or threats of violence against anyone in uniform should be considered an aggravated offence, in a similar way that racism is an aggravating factor in such crimes.

Bob Ainsworth, the Armed Forces Minister, said the Government was now engaged in discussions about how such a law could be introduced. “We’ve all heard of the instances of military people being discriminated against,” he said. “I do not believe that they are widespread, but I do believe they are totally and utterly unacceptable.” He added that they were no different to other forms of discrimination and needed to be outlawed.
Other incidents of discrimination highlighted by the report included troops at Birmingham and Edinburgh Airports being told to change into civilian clothes or avoid public areas, injured veterans being abused by members of the public at a swimming pool, and intimidation and abuse levelled at RAF personnel in parts of Peterborough. The latter incident was highlighted after personnel there were told not to wear their uniform in public to avoid further incidents.

While the “current pressure” on the overstretched forces meant that reviving the Royal Tournament was unlikely, it suggested creating a “modern equivalent”, the paper suggested. It was also proposed to relax rules that prohibit senior commanders from talking to the national press or MPs without the permission of the Ministry of Defence. With just 260 cadet forces out of 6,400 secondary schools, the report recommended that more comprehensives set up their own units to learn about military values.

Mr Ainsworth also confirmed that the Government was considering marking a new national day of celebration of the Armed Forces by making it a public holiday. Asked about the report’s call for an Armed Forces and Veterans’ Day, he said: “We need to look at the details of how and when we do this.”

Mr Davies, who defected from the Tories to Labour last year, also recommended that troops should be encouraged to wear military dress on all appropriate occasions in public.
The report also suggested more onus on local councils to ensure local units returning from the frontline are given home-coming parades.

The Ministry of Defence said it would respond in detail to the recommendations later in the year but was already working on ways to create an Armed Forces and Veterans’ Day , encourage uniform-wearing, expand cadet forces and encourage more parades.

Silky
 
and about time to. solthum because your wearing the Queen's uniform as she is head of the armed forces, so your technically insusting the Queen.
 
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I wear my uniform all the time in public.
Its about time that the British general public got use to the sight of military uniforms.
For too many years, due to security regulations, we have been hiding the Queens uniform.
 
I agree. The only shame is the way those that belittle men and women in uniform consistently get away with it. Indifference by the public gives strength to those who care little for honor and sacrifice by the military. There is something very wrong with a society that tolerates disrespect for those who wear the uniform of the military. The very ones who fight and may die in their country's defense or pursuit of justice. Pass a law and enforce it and welcome home those brave men and women who serve willingly so others can sleep safely at home.
Semper Fi Brits
 
Thats one law I would take great pleasure in imposing, about time the Government started to protect the people they so readily send into battle.
 

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