Head of UK's Royal Navy orders investigation into ‘abhorrent’ assault allegations

Admiral Sir Ben Key says sexual assault and harassment have no place in submarine service

The Royal Navy has pledged to stamp out sexual harassment in its ranks. PA
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The head of Britain's Royal Navy has ordered an investigation into “abhorrent” allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the submarine service.

Admiral Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, said sexual assault and harassment have “no place in the Royal Navy”.

The chief of the Naval Staff responded to the allegations personally on Twitter.

He said: “I am deeply disturbed to hear of allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the submarine service and I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be.

“These allegations are abhorrent.

“I have directed my senior team to investigate these allegations thoroughly.”

He added that anyone who is found culpable for such behaviour will be held accountable, regardless of rank.

The Ministry of Defence said that, while most Royal Navy personnel enjoy rewarding careers, for some, predominantly women, their experience has been affected by inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The ministry said it accepts that more needs to be done and that it is improving reporting mechanisms for sexual offences.

Earlier this year, the ministry announced a zero-tolerance policy for sexual offences, aligning the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army under one approach in dealing with incidences with the aim of enabling services to better support victims and secure justice for them.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 10:31 PM