interestingly Google “George Allan” the name of who submitted the FOI request offers these two links of a Journalist by the name George Allan working in Derby…
Obvious Journo is Obvious.
Not wishing to feed the issue … the report link in the first post is genuine and actually … when you consider it is only those incidents accepted by the ACO for review, it is a worryingly poor performance that is highlighted.
Don’t necessarily discuss here, but do read the document as it is a genuine review held by a company with police links.
It is worth noting that the document doesn’t really specify when things happened.
Some of these may have happened a long time ago, which of course doesn’t make them acceptable but is probably what would have been expected of any organisation at the time.
What really needs to be looked at is what’s been happening recently, and whether our CP training has effected a better level of protection in reality.
That’s fair enough.
I was required to participate in a safeguarding situation at a squadron in more recent times and after several failed investigations, the process was described as ‘tragically comedic’ at Wing and Region levels by the by the civilian safety officers that the police involved.
It was only at the fourth attempt when senior staff from ATC-HQ were ‘required’ to attend a police meeting to explain the failings at all levels (not dissimilar to many of the comments in this report) and convince that any semblance of a working procedure was in place and being followed, was the matter contained to just the offender.
A large part of this was driven by the fact that CAC and other senior ACO staff certainly did not follow the ‘robust procedures’ publicly quoted and, after many a month of upset and difficulty for the victim cadets and their families, the officer was re-instated despite concerned police warnings suggesting the contrary.
At no time did any Wing or Region staff follow procedure unless pushed hard to and the initial Wing procedure was to tell the officer to lie low for a few weeks while they pretended to carry out an investigation which, it was later confirmed, never happened. The Regional Chairman was no better - a retired Group Captain whose only response was “who do these parents think they are? … someone ought to get them under control”. The pervading attitude was to defend the uniform at all costs and despise those who had brought the complaint. It wasn’t even until the police had pushed ATC-HQ that any of the cadets involved, or there parents, were contacted and met with.
It is very hard for those at squadron level to work for the benefit of the cadets when they are being let down from the top and I think that in itself is something that ATC-HQ has yet to learn, but modern society will force them to. It makes me feel very sorry that uniformed staff throughout the organisation believe and act to a standard which is so flagrantly abused by their seniors when their own neck is on the line.
Maybe one day we will see how many of those honours that get handed out were for service to cadets or instead for service in defending the organisation.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The FOI highlights something I’ve never been happy with which is internal reporting and handling, rather than going straight to the police and or social services and just letting the CoC know. There is a fear I feel in HQAC that if something got out, it would create a massive problem, so they keep it all in house.
We had a couple of things about 3 or 4 years ago relating to Scouts going back decades and when I asked those I knew involved in Scouts if there was any impact and there wasn’t. The only people who showed anything were those who knew the people involved.
Well said Teflon - there should be nothing to fear if such transgressors, fairly proven to be so, are not welcomed with open arms to make the numbers into the MOD look good. I heard the very words from the current CAC’s own lips in a conversation that “if I ensure uniformed volunteers are accountable, I will have no staff and I cannot afford that”.
The wider public, parents and cadets will thank those who have the courage to adopt a consistent (and act on a) seriously robust approach to such matters. Nobody wants to revel in such matters, but regrettably everyone knows (if they are honest) that uniformed children’s organisations really have to be open to scrutiny and ATC-HQ and CAC haven’t got that yet.
The result will be a much stronger corps where respect is earned and freely given rather than enforced. That will help people at all levels in the organisation.
We also need to keep sight of the fact that the designated Local Authority Child Protection Officer has no authority to involve themselves - if the CPO says we dont have a problem, then that is it - significant where someone with CP knowledge has a desire to keep the lid on things. Similarly the Police have to be informed but wont act without evidence, and I note what Rumpole says there .
One then wonders if the reference to robust systems is as much about sparing the guilty any unpleasantness - that lines up with Rumpole’s quote from the CAC; the CAC appears to hold the trump card in most situations, and it is rather encouraging that so many members have implicit faith in the system.
The WDTK release is actually a review of a report Commissioned by the RAFAC- so it revolves around reality. Keep an open mind, but when, on the one hand, the NSPCC says there is an issue, but the local authority contradicts that because that is what they have been told, the matter becomes dead in the water, making the system not fit for purpose.
There is a duty of care placed on everyone to monitor safeguarding, but what good is that if there are deficiencies within the system.
This isn’t, from speaking to people I know in a variety of jobs, unique to the Air Cadets. However the Air Cadets do seem intent on trying to do it all in-house, rather than getting external bodies involved to remove any internal bias.
Also those I have heard of in schools in particular, seem to be involved with ‘difficult and troubled’ children in their job and therefore properly trained with all the necessary contacts to deal with the situations and a system to remove people from the scenario with little or no fuss. Teachers and pupils alike.
The assertion in the FOI is that staff ‘resign’ before getting dismissed, but surely that’s the nature of volunteering, ie someone gets ‘found out’ and are told there has been an allegation of ??? against them so don’t come down until further notice and they resign there and then and never come back, breaking all contact with the organisation. Do you refuse to accept their resignation? If so what powers and on what grounds does a squadron commander have to do that?
From my experience, if a dismissal is a possibility, then it would have already gone above the squadron commander’s head.
Volunteers can and do choose to ‘resign’ by cutting all contact, but HQAC can choose not to process the resignation, and have the CFAV dismissed instead. This should prevent the CFAV from rejoining in the future.
But say on the night the accused gives the CO a letter of resignation, gives keys etc, we can’t force them to come back. Keeping them on to send a formal dismissal is just admin and meaningless to the individual in the grand scheme. We need to lose this idea we are something special.
Anyway whether we formally dismiss or not, if they resign it should just be handed over to the local authority / Police to handle. The outcome of their investigations and subsequent charging or not will determine whether they can come back into the Corps or not. Personally in those circumstances I wouldn’t, would you?
The resignation letter may be accepted by OC Sqn in good faith, by the means of receiving a letter or by email, but higher up the CoC could refuse to accept the resignation due to ongoing investigation.
If individual is serial offender, but resigns each time from an organisation before being investigated, the cycle will never be broken or individual dealt with under possible Police powers. Where as being investigated, means that individual could be dismissed and outcome placed on record; DBS ‘red’ record should they try and apply again for another youth organisation.
Do I agree with this method; yes.
Maybe to the individual, but not to the corps.
Let’s say CI bloggs is under suspicion of inappropriate behaviour with a female cadet. If they are allowed to resign, there is nothing to prevent them from rejoining at a later date/different wing/region etc, and doing it all again.
If CI bloggs is dismissed (with or without him engaging in the disciplinary process), then they will not be allowed to rejoin. It’s not about imaging you have more power or reach than we do, it’s about using our processes to limit the ability for people to carry out abuse whilst engaged as a CFAV.
Allowing people to be reinstated after the police choose not to charge is one of the issues flagged up in the report. Put simply, the police can’t prosecute without strong evidence. That doesn’t mean to say that the individual is blameless.
We can investigate, and bin anyone we think, on balance of probabilities, is guilty. And we should.
Just because someone wants to resign, does not wipe the slate clean, and if there are allegations they need to be investigated, which means the organisation should not accept a resignation until the is complete. Ir is quite ludicrous that someone could resign to avoid detection and leave the door open to return to any youth organisation.
Unfortunately this does happen, so there are severe deficiencies, which accounts for the fact that some serious cases have arisen.
Also the system needs to ensure that the duty of care is such that everyone is able to report suspicions without fear of reprisal, - isnt that what is assured in ACP4? I remain to be convinced.
Unfortunately the Royal Canadian Air Cadets identified issues relating to a military based rank structure which can deter reporting, and this can also surely apply in cases of bullying.
Have you actually read the report? One of the points that was highlighted is that just because the Police/CPS decide that No Further Action can be taken from a criminal standpoint doesn’t mean that they can just walk back into the organisation (as appears to have happened in the past), they still need an internal investigation and their retention needs to be based on the civil burden of proof, so if on the balance of probabilities they did it they get thrown out.
Its not a matter of thinking we are special its a matter of making sure that those who are not suitable to work with young people are stopped from doing so. By formally dismissing them we ensure that they can’t come back by re-joining somewhere else.
I am surprised that the ACO believe they should investigate complaints of a serious nature. I have copied a portion of ACF Regulations that outline the procedure to be followed:
. If the complaint relates to an allegation of a criminal offence, emergency services must be contacted immediately. Adults within the ACF are not to investigate any concerns or allegations as this may hinder any subsequent police investigations. Social services and Child Protection Units within police forces are highly trained to investigate child protection concerns and they must be allowed to do their job. Any Cadets or adults implicated in allegations are to be suspended without prejudice pending investigations.
22.214.171.124.5. Investigations are to be conducted by the appropriate authorities1. If no further action is taken by the appropriate authorities after an investigation has been completed, the Cadet or adult whom the complaint names is to remain suspended pending an investigation by the ACF into the balance of probability of the complaint’s grounding and whether it warrants administrative action or dismissal from the ACF2.
126.96.36.199.6. All records and reports are to be written factually and objectively. Personal opinions, assumptions and beliefs of the person making the record or report are to be omitted. CFAVs and cadets (and families of cadets) have a right to access information held about them by organisations.
188.8.131.52.7. All records are to be kept on Westminster in the appropriate area. Only adults with the appropriate level of access are to be permitted access to sensitive records. Paper copies must be destroyed after the information is transferred onto the system, except in cases of child protection records during the timeframe of Justice Goddard’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
So why does te ACO believe it’s different, surely the same rules apply to all cadet organisations overseen by the MoD
I agree, why are we different?
The MoD has child protection policies already ask why the ACO deviates from their guidelines.
Well, considering an allegation would instigate a suspension without prejudice, you don’t accept a resignation during suspension and would hope you make sure to get the keys back!
And if they don’t come back for any purpose deemed necessary to handle to their case and/or don’t interact with the process then their on their own and don’t get a defence (speaking generally - where the investigation could just be internal or following an nfa from the police/cps - and not just in a criminal case).
I can’t say “NO” enough - did you even read the report? Just because no charges are brought doesn’t mean that person automatically gets welcomed back with open arms - that’s exactly something we were criticised for.
If investigated and dismissed, depending on the reason it should be reported to DBS. So yeah, there damn well is a point to all of this.
The way you debate the report findings makes it sound like you might have let one or two get away - I’m not saying you have, but just that your attitudes are exactly those that would have been held by the individuals named (redacted) and criticised in the report and the case files.