HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc414-5W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many(a) officers and (b) other ranks have been reported absent without leave in each of the last five years; of those, how many served in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [176112]

Mr. Caplin

[holding answer 8 June 2004]:. Figures for the number of trained personnel who are recorded as going/being absent without leave are given in the tables. No officers in the Naval Service or the RAF went absent during the last five years. Figures for the Army are unable to be broken down into officers and other ranks as the information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For the same reason, it is not possible to break down the figures to show any who may have served in Iraq.

Calendar year Total number reported AWOL1
1999 35
2000 50
2001 85
2002 90
2003 115
Royal Marines
Calendar year Total number reported AWOL1
1999 15
2000 20
2001 15
2002 20
2003 15
Financial year Total number reported AWOL1
1998–99 1,400
1999–2000 1,665
2000–01 1,850
2001–02 1,655
2002–03 1,685
Financial year Total number reported AWOL1
1998–99 20
1999–2000 20
2000–01 20
2001–02 15
2002–03 25
1Rounded to the nearest 5.

Recording of absence differs between the Naval Service, the Army and the RAF, which means that the figures are not directly comparable on a tri-Service basis. Additionally, the Naval Service changed the basis of their reporting in 2001. The Naval Service and the Army record multiple periods of absence by the same person. The RAF registers an individual once, regardless of how many times they are absent within a financial year.

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