Services Contain 28 Sex Offenders

Twenty-eight convicted sexual offenders are continuing to serve as members of the Armed Forces, according to Ministry of Defence records. The bulk are members of the Army, which has 16 soldiers who have been convicted of sexual offences. There are seven in the Royal Navy and five in the Royal Air Force.

None of the military personnel currently on the sex offenders’ register was employed in training establishments, the MoD said. A spokesman said that each sexual offender was considered on a case-by-case basis by senior military personnel officers, while risk assessments were conducted in order to take into account factors such as the nature and seriousness of the case.

“The decision to keep an individual in the Services who has been convicted of a sexual offence is not taken lightly,” he added.

He said that the MoD had a duty of confidentiality and a duty of care towards all servicemen and women.

The spokesman added that, while it was able to release the total number “known to be” on the sex offenders’ register, the ministry was not prepared to discuss individual cases “as to do so could place those individuals at risk”.

“If they were to be identified and abused as a result of the release of this information, the MoD would not have upheld its duties as an employer to that individual.”

The figures were released in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Earlier this year, a survey revealed that two thirds of women in the Armed Forces had suffered sexual harassment over the past year.

Ninety-nine per cent of servicewomen said they had witnessed “sexualised behaviour” — which included sexist jokes and language, inappropriate touching or more serious sexual assaults — while two out of three were victims themselves.

The survey of more than 9,000 women was carried out after the Equal Opportunities Commission launched an investigation into the military.

The Army is still reeling from the publication earlier this year of a report into the deaths of four young soldiers at the Deepcut Army barracks, in Surrey, cataloguing a history of abuse and bullying.