I wish to inform the House that I am laying today, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence, the reports from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) Inspection of the Service Police (the Royal Navy Police, the Royal Military Police and the RAF Police).
The Armed Forces Act 2011 places a duty on HMICFRS to inspect and report to the Ministry of Defence on the independence and effectiveness of investigations carried out by each Service police force, and this is HMICFRS third statutory inspection report on the Service Police.
I welcome these reports on Service Police investigations into Rape, serious sexual assault, and domestic abuse investigations from an independent civilian authority. While the reports recognise that such investigations are done to comparable or higher standards than most civilian police forces, some areas of concern have been raised, specifically around the safeguarding of victims. We have work in hand to improve the safeguarding and support to victims of these most serious offences including through the setting up of the Victims and Witness Care Unit (VWCU), under the Defence Serious Crime Command which will be fully operational by December 2022. More widely, there were a total of 30 recommendations and 13 areas of improvement for the Royal Naval Police, 32 recommendations and 19 areas of improvement for the Royal Military Police and 30 recommendations and 21 areas of improvement for the Royal Air Force Police.
A third of these were common to all three Services. The Department accepts the reports’ findings and will consider the recommendations and areas for improvement in detail.
Copies of the reports will be available through the Journal Office.