Powers to impose de facto ‘house arrest’ and curfews on service personnel

L Mowday made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Defence

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Ministry of Defence.

My reference: LSM/FOI/120909/14

Background. Until the Armed Forces Act 1996, the Army had the power to impose a form of ‘house arrest’ on military personnel, which effectively imprisoned them on camp. Until the 1950’s this was called ‘Confined to Barracks’, or ‘CB’ in service jargon. From the 1950’s until 1997 this was called Restrictions Of Privileges (ROPs). This punishment was only awarded following a formal judicial process, either a court martial, or ‘summary hearing’, a judicial hearing without lawyers, internal to a battalion or regiment. The Armed Forces Act 1996 significantly amended this form of punishment (ROPs), removing that aspect of it which confined personnel to barracks, i.e. the ‘house arrest’ provision. Modern ROPs require service personnel to undertake specified work, and attend parades at specified times.

Further to s1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1. Please provide all information from the drafting of the Armed Forces Act 1996 regarding the evolution of the punishment of Restriction of Privileges, in to a format whereby it no longer entailed confinement to barracks.

2. During the Football World Cup in South Africa, 11 June to 11 July 2010, Commander 20th Armoured Brigade placed a ‘curfew’ on soldiers at Paderborn/Sennelager, confining them to camp during certain weekends. Please release all documents held by both HQ 20 Armd Bde and HQ UK Support Command (Germany) regarding both this ‘curfew’ and any other imposed on personnel in any regiment during the period 2001-2011.

3. What powers do Army commanders have to impose ‘pre-emptive collective punishment’, for example, by banning soldiers from leaving barracks in case a small minority misbehave?

4. Under what powers was the so-called ‘curfew’ referred to above issued, and enforced?

5. For each of the years 2001-2011, please provide details of the overall numbers of British Forces based in Germany, and the number of Royal Military Police (RMP) personnel based in Germany. If releasable, for each year, please also indicate the average proportion of the latter deployed on operations. Please release all internal communications held by HQ UK Support Command (Germany), HQ 1st (UK) Armoured Division, Regimental HQ RMP, and the RMP career managers at the Army Personnel Centre, Glasgow, regarding requests for additional RMP manpower in Germany.

My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.

I note that under s16 of the Act, it is the MOD's duty to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who make requests for information to it. Accordingly, if the MOD considers attempting to block release of information under s12 of the Act (exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit), please a) provide a breakdown of costs, and b) explain what information *would* be releasable within the appropriate limit according to the department's purported calculations. I would, in that situation, apply for internal review, and ultimately apply for decision by the Information Commissioner, per s50 of the Act.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.


L Mowday

LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

1 Attachment

Ms Mowday,


Please see attached a reply to recent Freedom of Information Act Requests.




Army Secretariat

Army Headquarters | IDL 24 | Blenheim Building | Marlborough Lines |