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Armed Forces Act 2006

Property offences
Section 24: Damage to or loss of public or service property

84.The care of government and service property, and the property of fellow members of the armed forces, are significant disciplinary concerns. This section concerns damage or loss caused by service personnel either to public or service property, or to the property of another member of the armed forces. “Public property” is defined in sections 24 and 26, and means tangible property of government departments, and of the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is an offence:

  • to damage or cause the loss of public or service property either intentionally, recklessly or negligently (subsections (1) and (2)),

  • to do an act that is likely to cause such damage or loss, either negligently or recklessly (subsection (2)) (doing this intentionally would be an offence of attempting to commit an offence within subsection (1)),

  • to damage or cause the loss of property belonging to service personnel, either intentionally or recklessly (subsection (1)).

85.The main distinctions between the treatment of public and service property on the one hand, and the property of service personnel on the other, are that:

  • negligently damaging property belonging to service personnel is not an offence under this section.

  • in relation to public or service property, reckless or negligent acts which are likely to cause damage or loss are an offence, even if no damage is caused.

86.The maximum penalty under this section for intentional or reckless conduct which causes damage or loss, is ten years’ imprisonment. For reckless conduct which does not cause damage or loss, and for negligent conduct, the maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment.

Section 25: Misapplying or wasting public or service property

87.Service personnel who misapply or waste any public or service property commit an offence. “Public property” and “service property” are defined in section 26.

88.An offence under this section carries any of the punishments in the Table in section 164 except imprisonment.

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