HC Deb 17 April 1918 vol 105 cc419-20

(1)At the end of Sub-section (1) of Section one hundred and thirty-three of the Army Act (which relates to military prisons and detention barracks) the following words shall be inserted "and every building or part of a building set apart under the Air Force Act as an air-force prison or detention barrack, shall unless the Secretary of State otherwise directs be deemed to be a military prison or detention barrack within the meaning of this Section."

(2)This Section shall, notwithstanding anything in Section fourteen of the Army (Annual) Act, 1904, come into operation both within the British Islands and elsewhere on the passing of this Act.—[Mr. Macpherson.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The reason for my moving this new Clause is that the Air Council which has been recently instituted have asked that should be received into military detention barracks in order to undergo their sentence. Under Section 63 of the Air Force Act recently passed an airman sentenced to detention has to undergo the term of his detention either in Air Force custody or in a detention barracks. The Secretary of State for War can, under Section 133 of the Air Force Act, set apart the same buildings now used as a detention barracks or military prisons for the reception of Air Force prisoners and airmen under detention He can also, by rules, provide that the same rules which apply to military prisoners and soldiers undergoing detention shall apply to Air Force prisoners and airmen undergoing detention with such modifications as may at any time be necessary. Under such procedure there were certain difficulties and objections. Offences by airmen against detention barrack or prison discipline could be dealt with under the rules precisely in the same way as in the case of soldiers. But in the case of serious offences of such a nature that they could not be dealt with adequately, the airmen under the existing rules would have to be handed over to the Air Force authorities to be dealt with, if necessary, by court-martial under the Air Force Act. There would be no difficulty in easy to make charges under Sections dealing with officers such as escaping, or offences relating to property, but it would not be 8 and 9 of the Air Force Act as the officers of the detention barrack or military barrack would not be the superior officers of the airman under sentence within the meaning of the Air Force Act. This Amendment will obviate these difficulties and simplify procedure. Air Force prisoners or airmen under detention in the military prison or detention barrack will be in exactly the same position in all respects as if they were in an Air Force prison or detention barracks. The Amendment of the Army Act provides that, in the case of a soldier in an Air Force prison or barrack, the converse case will be dealt with by this Amendment.

Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.