HC Deb 18 March 1941 vol 370 c9
12. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the practice of imposing collective punishment on a group of soldiers for the offence of an individual; that this frequently induces the group in turn to punish the culprit who has involved them in the collective penalty; and whether he is satisfied that this process should continue?

Mr. Law

If, as I assume, my hon. Friend refers to the system whereby barrack damages which cannot be traced to individuals become a general charge against the men of the unit, I see no reason to discard this provision, which is a necessary safeguard against unwarranted expenditure of public funds. Every effort is made to fix responsibility on individuals, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that this is not always possible with regard to damage of this kind.

Mr. Sorensen

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his Reply, may I ask whether he is aware that in fact this system of collective punishment is imposed not merely in regard to damage to barracks but in regard to other matters as well; and will he make some inquiry?

Mr. Law

Certainly I will; if my hon. Friend will give me particulars, I shall be very glad of them.