A military charity investigated by the Charity Commission for misconduct and ordered to close has now been wound up.
1st Knight Military Charity was investigated after undercover reporting for a BBC Scotland programme exposed anti-Islamic comments made at the charity’s shop by a trustee and volunteer, as well as the sale of merchandise displaying anti-Islamic and derogatory comments and imagery.
The Charity Commission’s inquiry found that there was misconduct in relation to offensive material available for sale at the charity’s premises and comments recorded as part of the programme. It also found wider concerns about the charity’s management and governance.
In regards to the shop, the Commission’s report highlighted that:
- A second trustee present at the time of the undercover recording failed to intervene or challenge the comments made.
- The offensive merchandise was ordered on more than one occasion, and the trustees did not seek to later return or dispose of the stock.
- Further highly offensive and inappropriate t-shirts depicting Nazi symbolism was advertised for sale on the charity’s online store.
- While an unannounced visit to the charity’s premises later confirmed the relevant materials had been removed from sale, offensive and inappropriate merchandise was still displayed on the charity’s online store in February 2017.
The Commission issued an order under section 84B of the Charities Act 2011 for the trustees to wind up and dissolve the charity, both in the public interest and because it was unlikely that the charity could continue to operate beyond the end of the inquiry. As a result, the charity was dissolved and removed from the Register of Charities on 23 March 2018 with its remaining funds transferred to another charity, identified by the Commission, with similar objectives to the charity.
The full report of the inquiry is available on GOV.UK.
Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said:
“The public rightly expect charities to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and conduct. What we saw in this case fell short of that: not only was this charity mismanaged, we also saw evidence of behaviours and attitudes that have no place in charity. The organisation has now wound up, and I am pleased that we have ensured its assets are redistributed by another charity.”