Hull detective: 'Let's roll out military anti-bullying scheme'
A DETECTIVE who introduced a police initiative to combat a bullying culture in a military college would like to see it rolled out across the country.
Detective Constable Angie Elvin was commended by a top judge for tackling a bullying culture among military recruits in Hull.
It followed the court case of Nathan Williams, 20, of Beverley, who sexually assaulted a girl and subjected her to months of bullying.
Det Con Elvin said: "I thought if that's what it's like at the recruitment stage, what will it be like in the forces? It needs to be stopped now."
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Williams had been training to go into the Army at the Quality Personal Development (QPD) College in Hessle Road, west Hull, when he humiliated and bullied the girl for months before subjecting her to a sexual assault.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, complained to staff at the college, which prepares students for a career in the Armed Forces.
No action was taken, forcing her to call in police. Five students refused to give evidence to the police and one senior recruitment officer warned the sexual assault victim her army career would be over if she attempted to bring her attacker to justice.
Det Con Elvin said: "I was concerned we had a number of young people refusing to assist the investigation and I was concerned about the behaviour portrayed between the men and women at the college.
"I asked for our risk management officers PC Stuart Marsh and PC Paul Harrison to go into the recruitment centre and give lectures on how to identify sexual offending and inappropriate behaviour between them.
"We are hoping it will assist issues in relation to helping police investigations in the future and to make it clear this behaviour is not acceptable even in the institution they are going to be working in.
"It would be nice to roll this out across the country."
The honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding Judge Michael Mettyear, who heard Williams's case, expressed concern that lessons have not been learnt from the Deepcut Barracks scandal, where four soldiers committed suicide at the army base between 1995 and 2002 as reports were made of systematic bullying from senior officers.
He commended Det Con Elvin's actions for tackling the issues in Hull.
Det Con Elvin said: "The college is doing an excellent job recruiting young people into the armed forces. It just needed to address these issues.
"Every time they get a new batch of recruits, they contact us and we go in and speak to the students.
"Knowledge is power and if the cadets know what the law is then it should help them."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "The MOD supports any and all schemes run by civilian police forces that provide information and guidance to our cadets and other young people."
A jury at Hull Crown Court convicted Williams of sexual assault.
He is due to be sentenced next month.