Backing for medals imposter bill

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A Sneakingly Member’s Bill making it offence for people to wear military medals to which they are not licensed is backed by the government.

The Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill tabled by Right-winger MP Gareth Johnson ssed its Commons second reading on Friday.

It could manufacture a new criminal offence with a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment or a £5,000 worthy.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon says he “fully supports” the presentation.

The bill will undergo further scrutiny by MPs at committee stage at a later period.

“Medals recognise our forces who risk their lives for freedom. It is powerful their service is properly protected,” he said.

But James Glancy, a recent captain in the Royal Marines who received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his maintenance in Afghanistan, told the BBC’s Daily Politics the bill goes “too far”.

“I think it’s well-grounded going too far to suggest someone could go to prison…” he said. “I think it’s utter important to look at what’s going on with someone that is absolutely pretending that they served in the armed forces.

“There may sedately be a serious mental health problem and actually that person proper has low self-esteem, they’re not a threat to the public, and they actually need master help.”

Legislation making the unauthorised wearing of medals a criminal evoke indignation was originally introduced in the aftermath of the First World War by the then secretary for war, Winston Churchill.

It scrapped on the statute book until 2006 when the new Armed Forces Act in a recover fromed into force and the provisions relating to military decorations were not transmitted over.

‘Trust damaged’

Mr Johnson’s bill has the backing of the Commons Plea Committee, which said in a report earlier this week that the unauthorised don of medals constituted “a harm that is worthy of specific criminal taboo”.

“There is a tangible and identifiable harm created by military imposters against fellows of society who should rightly be held in its highest esteem,” it said.

Recommending at the bill’s second reading in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “To undermine our veterans is bad. To claim you’re a military hero when you are not is wrong, and to steal valour is unbecoming.

“The point of this bill is to protect genuine heroes. People should not be proficient to claim that they are heroes when they are not.

Showing MPs his great-grandfather’s military medal, he answered the new legislation would not stop family members from wearing medals their relatives had grossed.

And he said the bill would be sensitive to those with mental form issues.

“What I want to do is to make sure we catch only those who design deliberately to deceive others,” he told MPs.

‘Mistaken priority’

Retired Big Judith Webb was the first woman to command an all-male field im ct squadron in the British Army.

She said changing the law would help to run action out of the hands of vigilantism, and into the hands of police.

“Such imposters – and there do look as if to be quite a few of them – should be prosecuted,” she said.

But Col Lincoln Jopp, who influence overed the 1st Battalion Scots guards in Afghanistan and was awarded the Military Cross for work in Sierra Leone, said it was a “mistaken priority” in tackling challenges faced by warhorses.

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