1,300 Squaddies on the rip…

According to figures obtained by Sylvia Hermon, that’s how many soldiers have been convicted for a wide range of offences over the last six years.

  • smcgiff

    Not sure why, but I’m surprised it was a unionist party that flagged this.

  • joeCanuck

    The numbers are meaningless unless we have proper context.
    To know whether or not these numbers are out of line, we need to know what percentage of the individuals who served here committed crimes compared with the percentage of the civilian population.

  • Ulick

    How come the IMC missed this?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    One wonders, realistically, were all the petty crimes backed out of this total — they clearly disclose that “there was no breakdown of what type of offences were committed,” meaning that this number is fairly useless, other than to say that the number peaked and appears to be trending downward at the moment, although that may not really be an indication of improvement.

  • Bemused

    Unfortunate choice of headline Mick, given that there have been a number of British Soldiers convicted of rape in the North in the last ten years….

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Ulick: “How come the IMC missed this? ”

    Because its data and not information. The numbers, in and of themselves, have no real value, lacking both context and any sort of useful baseline to compare it to.

  • This type of behaviour is always present when foreign soldiers from a foreign land are tasked to invade and control a foreign country.

    The problem is greater when the foreign soldiers are acting on behalf of a minority of that whole nation, not just their political paymasters.

    Crminality by soldiers happens all over the world, when they are away from home,in foreign countries not just NI.

    Perhaps the crime figures from Aldershot should be viewed in comparison to find out whether criminality is higher when soldiers are abroad, as with those stationed on the foreign island of Ireland.

  • joeCanuck

    Your last paragraph is a valid point Art Hostage if you strip out the vitriol.
    As a couple of us have already pointed out, the numbers are meaningless unless we have context.
    I’m no apologist for the British Army, there are many others here who can do that, but not all of us forget how they were welcomed with open arms in Catholic areas when they were first deployed.
    If they hadn’t been deployed, there would likely have been an incredible bloodbath.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “I’m no apologist for the British Army, there are many others here who can do that, but not all of us forget how they were welcomed with open arms in Catholic areas when they were first deployed. ”

    With the expectation that they were there to protect the Catholic minority, Joe. Unfortunately, they chose a light assault formation, rather than a couple of battalions of military policement to do the job.

    joeCanuck: “If they hadn’t been deployed, there would likely have been an incredible bloodbath. ”

    As opposed to, what, the last nearly forty years of managed chaos? I hate to sound cynical, but perhaps the reason that the Troubles have gone on for so long is that they have been managable, at least for a tolerably broad definition of the word. A pity Unionists weren’t as interested then in “human rights” as they claim to be now…

  • joeCanuck

    Dread,
    I can’t (don’t) disagree.
    But the uncomfortable truth that there would probably have been an immediate bloodbath is hard to deny given that the Catholics had no means to defend themselves from the “loyalist” mob aided and abetted by government forces.
    No!!!!!
    I am not an apologist for the IRA either.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “But the uncomfortable truth that there would probably have been an immediate bloodbath is hard to deny given that the Catholics had no means to defend themselves from the “loyalist” mob aided and abetted by government forces. ”

    That is waht makes my thought cynical, joe…

    Were that bloodbath to have occurred, in the modern era, with television and the eyes of the world watching, do you really imagine this slow-motion train wreck would still be running? The only reasons that it has gone on so long is that the body-count has been stretched over 40 years, as opposed to a couple weeks of rioting and rapine by Loyalists and police. Had matters not been suppressed, yes, there would have been beatings and riots and unpleasentness, ala the Civil Rights movement in the United States, inflicted, culturally, by rather similar folks… I guess the real question would if the outcome would have been more benign than what there is no…

    Its a thought bitter as burnt coffee and twice as black, but there ya go.

  • joeCanuck

    Dread
    Unfortunatly there’s no way of telling.
    Bitter indeed.

  • Rory

    “People will be shocked at the extent to which criminality permeates the ranks of the British Army serving in the six counties (Northern Ireland),”

    Some people may be there are however a very large number who will not be in the least surprised and indeed be quite scornful at the low conviction rate given their experience of the extent of criminal behaviour by these undisciplined yobboes.

    It would be interesting nevertheless to have a breakdown by type of offence. Would it show the same levels of violent assaults and sexual assaults that is fairly endemic in English garrison towns for example.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “Some people may be there are however a very large number who will not be in the least surprised and indeed be quite scornful at the low conviction rate given their experience of the extent of criminal behaviour by these undisciplined yobboes. ”

    And the paramilitaries of both sides polish their halos every Sunday afternoon, neh? Let’s not try to gild the lily too greatly.

    Rory: “It would be interesting nevertheless to have a breakdown by type of offence. Would it show the same levels of violent assaults and sexual assaults that is fairly endemic in English garrison towns for example. ”

    Additionally, a “rate” — number of offenses over the number of soldier, that it might be compared to other groups on an “apples to apples” basis.

  • jone

    I think Lady Sylvia asked the question as she did a lot of work with the Montgomerry family from North Down whose daughter Gemma was killed by Gordon Godley, a drink-driving squaddie.

    If the MoD had responded to the fact that he had two warrants out for his arrest at the time of the crash he might not have been in a position to kill her.

    And even after he was charged the MoD didn’t seem to treat the case very seriously which allowed him to abscond. He eventually went down for four years.

    Full details in this File on Four transcript, page 9 to 14.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/01_03_05_military_justice.pdf

  • Bemused

    “People will be shocked at the extent to which criminality permeates the ranks of the British Army serving in the six counties (Northern Ireland),”

    Nice to see BBC UDA continuing with it’s shamelessly sectarian approach to the geo-political nomenclature of Northern Ireland. I can only assume that they are now going to helpfully start ‘translating’ words like ‘province’ and ‘ulster’ whenever they are used by (usually unionist) contributors.

    Can you imagine the reaction if the following appeared in the body of this article?

    “People will be shocked at the extent to which criminality permeates the ranks of the British Army serving in the province (Northern Ireland),”

    or,

    “People will be shocked at the extent to which criminality permeates the ranks of the British Army serving in Ulster (Northern Ireland),”

    Paying their licence fee really makes my blood boil.

  • peter fallow

    Haven’t noticed since ‘peacetime’ any soldiers stabbing a man to death and using their army to forensically clean the crime scene and intimidate witnesses / the family of the victim though.
    Proportionately speaking, the propensity to crime of the nationalist ‘Army’ (as they consider it) is vastly higher than that of the army in Ulster. Which has clearly been some pretty small beer…anything serious and by Christ would we have heard about it.
    The army in this part of the UK has been notable for its restraint, considering the animals they were having to deal with.

  • plain speaking

    It is only correct that the national broacaster in this part of the UK uses language which recognises the internationally recognised consitution of Northern Ireland.
    Brave revolutionary paying his TV licence tho!

  • Art Hostage
    “a foreign country”
    So that’s why there are so many crimes committed by the locals against ‘ethnic minority’people(Chinese,Pakistanis,Africans etc)in NI.

  • mnob

    “This type of behaviour is always present when foreign soldiers from a foreign land are tasked to invade and control a foreign country.

    The problem is greater when the foreign soldiers are acting on behalf of a minority of that whole nation, not just their political paymasters.

    Crminality by soldiers happens all over the world, when they are away from home,in foreign countries not just NI. ”

    Nice attempt – but the majority of British soldiers serving in Northern Ireland were always from Northern Ireland in the first place. The fact that you consider them foreign says a lot about your state of mind.

  • fionn

    peter fallow

    “Proportionately speaking, the propensity to crime of the nationalist ‘Army’ (as they consider it) is vastly higher than that of the army in Ulster.”

    so we are finally comparing british army and ira as like with like, are we??

    “Which has clearly been some pretty small beer…anything serious and by Christ would we have heard about it.”

    yeah, i guess you missed the whole bloody sunday bit then did ya?

  • Wilde Rover

    Fionn,

    To play devil’s advocate, Peter Fallow has a point.
    As for the Bloody Sunday reference, all those involved were paras, notorious head-the-balls who ruined in one night the relationship built up by the regular army stationed in the city at the time.
    The fact that the paras got a hammering from the regular squaddies when they returned to barracks is often missed.
    In fact, it was the British Army who exercised restraint when the ‘Business Community of Londonderry’ were screaming for ‘hooligans’ to be shot on sight.
    And once soldiers are finally in the thick of it…
    Indeed, it could be argued that it was the lack of total control by the British Army in the 1920s that led to independence in the south.
    Republican (and, crucially, popular) wrath at that time focused on the Black and Tans, not the regular army.
    And it could also be argued that remarks by British officers concerning the professional set up of the IRA at that time contributed to a shift in perspective at Downing Street.

    peter fallow

    Animals? you make it sound like a fox hunt.

    It’s ok to eat fish cos they don’t have any feelings?

  • peter fallow

    ‘Animals’? I take it you’ve seen the footage of those monkeys jumping all over the two corporals?
    Actually, not fair: monkeys wouldn’t do it.

    “so we are finally comparing british army and ira as like with like, are we??”

    No, merely pointing out that if we were to compare like with like as the Provos insist, their own squaddies come off far, far worse in terms of criminality.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Wilde Rover: “As for the Bloody Sunday reference, all those involved were paras, notorious head-the-balls who ruined in one night the relationship built up by the regular army stationed in the city at the time. ”

    Which bespeaks poor decision-making on the part of the powers that be. A couple battalions of military police would have been a far far better choice. One does not use a sledgehammer to drive a finishing nail.

  • Wilde Rover

    “I take it you’ve seen the footage of those two monkeys jumping all over the two corporals?”

    I have. I have also seen footage of British soldiers engaging in similar activities in Basra, complete with commentary.

    “Actually, not fair: monkeys wouldn’t do it”

    But apes do. Primates are the only creatures that single out members from other ‘tribes’ perceived to be encroaching upon their territory.

    It’s one of the things that sets US apart from the other ‘animals’.