Government owes Bassingbourn community ‘big time’ after long awaited MoD report finally made public

PUBLISHED: 08:32 24 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:25 24 September 2015

Bassingbourn Barracks

Bassingbourn Barracks

Archant

The government owes the Bassingbourn community big time – that’s the view of the leader of Cambridge City Council after a report into the way authorities handled the atrocities committed by Libyan soldiers training at Bassingbourn Barracks was made public.

160211_BigSociety_Cameron2160211_BigSociety_Cameron2

A report into the training programme, prepared by the chief of defence staff for Prime Minister David Cameron, right, was published in December in the wake of the scandal that soldiers committed sex offences in Cambridge.

But the full report has only now been made public after growing pressure from the local community.

The report states the Ministry of Defence believes the vetting and screening process of the Libyans ‘was adequate’, but a restriction on soldiers did not prevent the serious crimes from being committed.

The document concludes that ‘little could have been done to avert what happened other than introducing a security regime that would have been so severe that it would have rendered the programme infeasible’.

Councillor Adrian Dent, who represents Bassingbourn on Cambridgeshire County Council, feels this shows the training programme should never have been started in the first place.

He said: “They realised there were problems – they weren’t in control from the start.”

Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert agreed, saying: “Even now, the MoD still owes residents a proper explanation why they ignored the risks to our communities.

“As the investigation shows, they never had full control at Bassingbourn and elsewhere.”

The 56-page report also admits communication problems between MoD organisations responsible for training, local authorities and the wider community.

It goes on to say: “All three councils told us that they did not consider that they had received any formal communication from the Ministry of Defence in relation to the training” – a problem Councillor Dent experienced first hand.

He said: “We weren’t consulted by the MoD. I was told by the army this is what we have done. Nobody was consulted – they were told.”

The report also reveals that after allegations of sexual assault were made to police in October, security was heightened at the barracks from 28 British army guards to 87.

But that failed to stop five trainees escaping the next weekend and committing a number of sexual assaults, including rape.

After that weekend, security reached ‘containment’ level – with almost 300 security personnel drafted in to guard the base – before the Libyan soldiers were sent home.

Councillor Herbert said: “I think the government owes the Bassingbourn community big time, and some good must come out of the catastrophic series of events where the MoD now admits they totally lost control.

“The right answer is for the MoD to agree with the local community plans for the future use of the barracks including immediate access to recreation facilities there currently being wasted and lying idle.”

Councillor Dent said he hopes the barracks will be used for housing veterans or as a training base, which would open up the possibility for recreation facilities.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

“Don’t ignore hate – report it.” That is the message that pupils from across Hertfordshire heard at an event marking National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Actress Morwenna Banks (among other television roles, the voice of Mummy Pig in Peppa Pig) and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Jeremy Sallis both added glamour to this year’s fashion show for Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s Breast Cancer Appeal. Morwenna described how cancer had affected members of her family. Jeremy took part in a Men in Black routine. The show, on Thursday, October 18, had models wearing everything from just bra and pants, to evening wear and bridal.

There are plans for an expanded park and ride in Trumpington, but some are not happy about “nuisance” coaches arriving late at night and early in the morning.

09:31

Campaigners hoping to stop the 400-year-old Cabinet pub in Reed being turned permanently into a house are urging supporters to turn out in force when the planning appeal is heard in two weeks’ time.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy