Oct 2016

18 - The former BAFF Chairman was interviewed on 'Good Morning Scotland' to discuss, with ex-soldier Wayne Sharrocks who had joined on his 17th birthday and was later wounded in Afghanistan, a report issued today by the health activist charity MedAct entitled 'The Recruitment of Children by the UK Armed Forces'. The Director of Medact had given an earlier interview. Our former Chairman was critical of the report but as the time available was curtailed by an extended item about UKIP, we have asked him to provide a short commentary reflecting BAFF policy on the recruitment of 17 and 18 year olds.

08 - British Armed Forces Federation former Chairman Douglas Young discussed with Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, the announcement at the Conservative party conference that the UK would suspend parts of the European Convention of Human Rights before deploying troops on future operations. The discussion took place on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, with presenter Laura Maciver.

Reports tonight (3 Oct) that the Government intends to derogate from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) have been greeted with some relief, given the extent to which the rights conferred by the Convention now appear to have been abused.

"Derogation" would mean a limited opt out from specified parts of the Convention in respect of specified activities, such as an overseas operation. A "blanket" derogation from the whole of the Convention is not possible, therefore derogation would not eliminate the possibility of vexatious claims.

The announcement does not affect the ongoing IHAT and Northmoor inquiries.

BAFF already offers free basic professional legal advice for any BAFF full member approached by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) for an interview, even if apparently as a witness and not under caution. After consultation with the legal firm with whom we have this arrangement, BAFF is very pleased to confirm that this offer applies to all recent or current military operations, such as the Op Northmoor inquiry (Afghanistan/Herrick).

The Government has published the report by former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir David Calvert-Smith, who was commissioned in April 2016 to carry out a review of the systems in place at the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) for receving and processing allegations through to the ultimate decision as to whether to recommend prosecution.

Any full BAFF member approached by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), even if apparently as a potential witness, can now consult a solicitor absolutely free of charge. This is an extension of the 'pro bono' Court Martial representation scheme already available to BAFF members. UPDATE: After consultation with the legal firm concerned, this BAFF member offer also applies to inquiries arising from other operations, specifically those in Afghanistan.

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We have not been able to ignore a growing strength of feeling, apparent on our visits and in the responses to our survey, that the time may be approaching when some form of representation outside the chain of command may be required.

Official Bett report for MoD (1995)