UK soldiers to be trained in sexual consent under anti-bullying plans

British Army soldiers and officers will be trained in sexual consent under plans to tackle bullying and harassment after showdown talks between Ben Wallace and top generals

  • Army soldiers will receive sexual consent training under plans to tackle bullying 
  • Chief of the General Staff said there were ‘core and cultural issues’ in the Army
  • Royal Military Police will carry out sexual consent training for recruits
  • It follows showdown talks between Defence Secretary and top generals

British Army soldiers and officers will receive sexual consent training under plans to tackle bullying and harassment after showdown talks between the Defence Secretary and top generals.

The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said there were ‘core and cultural issues’ in the Army which needed addressing following a ‘full and frank’ discussion with Ben Wallace. 

Yesterday’s meeting with members of the Army Board, the first of its kind to be called by the Defence Secretary, followed a report into the treatment of women in the Armed Forces led by Tory MP Sarah Atherton.

Ms Atherton, a former soldier, found that almost two thirds of women had experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination while serving in the Army, and that nearly 40 per cent of 993 asked reported that their experience of the complaints system was ‘extremely poor’.

There are more than 20,000 women currently serving in the Armed Forces.

UK forces are also under pressure after the murder of a Kenyan sex worker in 2012, which was reportedly committed by a British soldier and covered up. 

According to an Army briefing paper, the Royal Military Police will carry out sexual consent training for recruits, including at Sandhurst, to ensure they start their careers ‘under no illusion of what is unacceptable’.

British Army soldiers and officers will receive sexual consent training under plans to tackle bullying and harassment (stock image)


Left, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace arriving at Downing Street on October 27, 2021. Right, the Chief of the General Staff, General Mark Carleton-Smith, on September 15, 2021

Gen Carleton-Smith wants the training to be mandatory for all soldiers and officers, army sources told The Times. 

The newspaper cited internal documents which state that the aim is understood to be to eradicate offending and ‘educate on the complexities of consent’. 

The first part of the training will concern sexual offences and consent, aimed at helping personnel to understand what consent is and ‘when it can truly be given’.  The second part will deal with ‘indecent and extreme images’ and looks at revenge porn and voyeurism. 

Jonathan Codd, a captain in the Royal Military Police who delivers the training to military police instructors, said: ‘The army is committed to eradicating sexual offending. It’s a wholly intolerable thing. 

‘Anything we can do to drive down these behaviours is a positive move and that’s why we do it.’ 

In a joint statement following the meeting, Mr Wallace and Gen Carleton-Smith said: ‘We had a full and frank discussion about a range of issues.

The Defence Secretary met senior generals to address concerns around the treatment of women in and by the British military 

A report into the bullying and sexual harassment of female soldiers found that almost two thirds had experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination while serving in the Army

‘The British Army is only as good as the people who serve in it and the leadership exhibited by officers and senior non-commissioned officers. Recent events have brought to light important issues that require all our people to play their part in resolving.

‘We agreed that together we will address these core and cultural issues. Later this month the Army will set out exciting new plans for its future structure and deployments. It is an exciting offer and the Army should be proud of the work it has done.’

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Wallace said he would also be raising the issue of delays to the new Ajax armoured vehicle programme.

Only a dozen of 589 vehicles have been delivered, despite more than £3.2billion being spent already.

It comes as Ms Atherton’s report, made up of the findings of interviews with more than 4,000 servicewomen and female veterans, found six out of 10 women in the Armed Forces said they had not reported bullying, harassment or discrimination due to a lack of faith in the system.

The report, made up of the findings of interviews with more than 4,000 servicewomen and female veterans, also included accounts of rape or sex for advancement.   

Kenyan police have reopened their investigation into the murder of a young mother who was last seen with a British soldier from a nearby military base. 

Ms Wanjiru, a prostitute, had reportedly been partying with soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on the night she went missing. 

 The Sunday Times last month reported that a British soldier – named only as Soldier X – confessed to killing Ms Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body, and the crime was reported but dismissed by military officials.

Mother-of-one Agnes Wanjiru, 21, was found in a septic tank behind the Lions Court Hotel in Nanyuki, close to the British Army Training Unit Kenya camp, two months after she disappeared in March 2012. 

Ms Wanjiru, a prostitute, had reportedly been partying with soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on the night she went missing.

The Sunday Times last month reported that a British soldier – named only as Soldier X – confessed to killing Ms Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body, and the crime was reported but dismissed by military officials.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey arrived in Nanyuki last week, where he promised Britain would ‘leave no stone unturned’ in the hunt for the young mother’s murderer. 

His comments follow newspaper claims that a soldier confessed to a colleague that he had killed Miss Wanjiru, who left behind a five-month-old daughter.

The RMP is now looking into whether troops from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and Royal Army Medical Corps had a role in the murder.

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