Where RAF uniform is met with abuse

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Where RAF uniform is met with abuse

Post by Guest on Sun 09 Mar 2008, 1:25 pm

RAF personnel have been banned from wearing their uniforms in public after suffering abuse in the streets.

The order was given to servicemen and women at an air base in Cambridgeshire on the advice of RAF police.

Last night politicians and military leaders lamented the move and Government sources said civilian police chiefs have been told to take tougher action against people who abuse Armed Forces personnel.

The base commander at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, took the decision after reviewing incidents of abuse over a seven-month period. Sqd Ldr Tony Walsh, a spokesman at the base, said a number of personnel who lived in the city and its outskirts had suffered abuse when wearing their uniforms off-duty.

The abuse had come from a "cross-section" of the community, he added, and was believed to be linked to the RAF's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last night, Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said he hoped the uniform ban would soon be lifted.

He added: "We must defend our Forces' right to wear their uniforms in public.

"It is a great shame that some individuals in this community don't respect our Forces, who are daily doing a great deal for this nation. This is not a situation we should tolerate.

"I hope that by working closely with Peterborough City Council and the local police, service personnel at RAF Wittering will soon be able to wear their uniforms freely about the town with the support of the local people."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, the Chief of the Air Staff, said: "Whatever people's views are about specific military operations, everyone should be able to recognise the bravery and professionalism of our Armed Forces and respect the difficult job they do."

Liam Fox, the Tory shadow defence secretary, said last night: "I think that the majority of our public would be appalled to hear that there are no-go areas for our Armed Forces, even in their own country."

Provided By: Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/07/nraf107.xml

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