New TA unit to specialise in PoWs

AN EXPERT group trained in dealing with prisoners of war is to be set up in Colchester as part of a reorganisation of the Territorial Army, it has been revealed.

By Roddy Ashworth

AN EXPERT group trained in dealing with prisoners of war is to be set up in Colchester as part of a reorganisation of the Territorial Army, it has been revealed.

The specialist unit will be based at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) - known locally as the Glass House.

This will be a new role for the Territorial Army whose new unit will form part of the Military Provost Staff, which provides the custodial staff at the military prison.


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The group will be 94 strong and its purpose will be to provide teams of deployable experts to assist and advise in the custody of prisoners of war on operations.

The soldiers will be skilled in the same methods of detention used at the MCTC in Colchester, to ensure the conditions for any enemy detainees are maintained at a high level.

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The new commanding officer of the Military Provost Staff (Volunteers) will be the MCTC Camp Commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Holroyd.

“The British Army already has a very good record for its treatment of enemy prisoners during operations,” he said.

“With the creation of this specialist unit we want to ensure that any enemy prisoners taken by the Army are held under the best and most humane conditions possible.”

The Army is seeking to recruit people who already have experience in either military or civilian detention.

Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Allen, of the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, said: “This role will be demanding but by recruiting from experienced professionals, both within the military and beyond, we can ensure the highest standards are met.”

Yesterday a spokesman for Colchester Garrison stressed that no prisoners of war would actually be held at Colchester.

“These people will be specialists who will be sent out to places such as Afghanistan or Iraq if there are prisoners taken.

“Normally prisoners of war would be looked after by ordinary soldiers but this group will be able to supply experts in the field of maintaining a high standard of care.”

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