HC Deb 27 November 1998 vol 321 cc36-7W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions have been issued by(a) ministers and (b) the chain of command regarding the change of policy on the wearing of military uniforms in public; and if he will make a statement. [60975]

Mr. Doug Henderson

Following the announcement to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 19 October 1998,Official Report, columns 968–69, of the adoption of a more open approach to the wearing of uniform in public, the single-Service Chiefs of Staff each issued guidelines to their respective service. The new guidelines came into force on 1 November 1998 for mainland Great Britain and have since been extended to include those serving abroad, taking due account of local security situations.

The guidelines allow personnel to wear uniform subject to the following caveats:

  1. a. Personnel will not be compelled to wear uniform, other than on duty should they wish to protect their anonymity.
  2. b. Mixed civilian and military clothing is not permitted except to cover up from residence to place of duty using private transport, when an individual or individual's family wish to protect anonymity.
  3. c. The single Services will decide on the forms of uniform that are permissible in public.
  4. d. For practical reasons, civilian clothes will continue to be worn by military staff in selected MOD buildings.
  5. e. Personnel may not wear uniform when representing a third party.
  6. f. Personnel may not consume alcohol, or visit places of entertainment, in uniform, other than on duty.

It is our intention that the adoption of a more open approach to the wearing of uniform in public will increase the visibility of Service personnel in society and enhance the public awareness of Armed Forces.

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