Back campaign to protect frontline forces, urges MP

AN MP from the region is supporting a campaign for greater protection from prosecution for veterans who have served their country in frontline conflict zones.

Alister Jack wants more safeguards for former British military personnel against spurious and vexatious historic allegations and repeat prosecutions.

The Dumfries and Galloway MP is among politicians and other campaigners backing calls for legislation at Westminster to introduce a Statute of Limitations.

This would prevent British forces' veterans of conflicts such as in Northern Ireland, Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and other operations being threatened with clearly unjustified prosecutions later in life.

It follows high-profile cases of veterans from across the UK being detained, questioned and later facing court proceedings over allegations sometimes dating from decades before.

This is despite there being no new evidence, them previously being cleared and, in some cases, given letters indicating they had immunity from future criminal charges.

The local MP pointed out that ex-service personnel across the country, including some in the south of Scotland, had been approached with requests for information and interviews over past incidents.

During a recent debate at Westminster, Mr Jack highlighted the case of an ex-soldier in his late 70s from England who faces gruelling criminal court proceedings despite suffering life-limiting kidney failure and heart disease.

Mr Jack is inviting Dumfries and Galloway residents to support the campaign for a change in UK law, which would apply to past and serving members of the armed forces.

They can pledge their support through an online petition at the MP's website

He said: "Such cases give little confidence to school and university leavers when they are considering a career in the armed services.

"Potentially having to defend yourself publicly in court or a tribunal over legitimate decisions made in a high-pressure and dangerous environment is appalling for veterans of missions where they were carrying out orders.

"Ex-servicemen and women who have served their country well should not have to live under the shadow of this worry for the rest of their lives."