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MoD publicizes measures to deal with ‘unacceptable’ discrimination

British soldiers marching in the rainPicture copyright
PA Media

The Ministry of Defence has introduced a raft of measures to deal with “unacceptable levels” of bullying and discrimination within the armed forces.

These embody organising a 24-hour helpline staffed by counsellors outdoors the chain of command.

Personnel may also bear coaching to make sure they’ve the arrogance to problem inappropriate behaviour.

It comes after Britain’s most senior army officer mentioned “laddish behaviour” needed to be stamped out.

Gen Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence workers, mentioned it was driving out gifted feminine and ethnic minority personnel as he informed MPs this week the tradition inside the armed forces was worrying and mentioned the tempo of change was unacceptable.

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Andrew Parsons/10 Downing St

Figures printed by the unbiased Service Complaints Ombudsman present that ladies and black, Asian and different ethnic minority ethnic (BAME) personnel usually tend to complain about bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Final 12 months, 23% of complaints about discrimination had been made by girls despite the fact that they make up simply 12% of the common armed forces.

BAME personnel additionally made a disproportionate variety of complaints. They make up 8% of the common armed forces however lodged 11% of complaints about bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has already described the document of the armed forces on variety as woeful. Of the highest 150 army officers solely three are girls.

Asserting the brand new measures Mr Wallace mentioned: “There is simply no place for bullying or harassment in our armed forces and I am determined to stamp this out.

“Our anti-bullying helpline is a vital subsequent step and I’ll proceed to hunt the change in behaviour we have to see throughout defence.”

Defence minister Johnny Mercer said the helpline would “permit personnel to report incidents in a secure and safe surroundings” and would ensure that concerns were dealt with quickly and professionally.

The MoD said it would also conduct a wider review of its anti-bullying measures to ensure progress is being made.

Inoke Momonakaya, a Fijian soldier, served with the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment from 2005-2012, doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In January 2019 he was awarded £490,000 from the MoD for racial discrimination.

He told BBC Three’s Racism in the Ranks documentary last month that he and fellow Fijian soldiers were ordered to dress as Taliban insurgents for an Army training video, with white soldiers playing friendly forces.

White soldiers also wrote his name on a black troll doll, which a senior officer displayed in his office, which he said made him feel “like a second-class soldier”.

Asked about his reaction to the new measures, such as the 24-hour hotline, Mr Momonakaya, who lives in in the town of Kirkham, in Lancashire, said he was “completely satisfied” because it showed the MoD is “taking steps” against racism and things were going in a “constructive route”.

He welcomed the helpline being private and outside the chain of command, but questioned “what additional steps” would be taken once a person has made a phone call and how the issue might be dealt with afterwards.

He said that, as well as racism, sexual harassment and bullying also still go on in the Army, and that all soldiers should be educated about these issues so they can be dealt with.

The new measures are being introduced one year after the publication of a report by the current head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshall Mike Wigston, which found a significant number within the armed forces had experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination, but had felt unwilling or unable to report it.

He also highlighted a perception among some that the armed forces were led by a “pack of white middle-aged males”.

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