LONDON: In wake of prevailing racial situation, General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff has said that more must be done to tackle racial discrimination in the UK’s armed forces. He called on all personnel to see the potential in every recruit and “refuse to allow intolerance.
The message comes after a meeting of the heads of the services on Wednesday. In his letter to soldiers, sailors and air force personnel, General Carter said the service chiefs agreed that these events “have brought the issues of racism and discrimination sharply into focus”.
“We owe it to our black, Asian and minority ethnic servicemen and women, who will be feeling concerned at the moment, to try to look at this from their perspective, to listen and to continue to make change happen,” he said.
There had been “soul searching” about events highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement, a defence source said. All the service chiefs at Wednesday’s meeting were white men.
General Carter described the armed forces as a rich mix of faiths, colour, gender and creeds and said people were valued for their abilities, “not for what they look like or where they come from”. But he said the armed forces needed to force the pace of change.
Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) personnel make up just over 8% of the total armed forces – with a target to increase that proportion to 10% this year. For the past four years the Armed Forces Ombudsman annual report has repeatedly highlighted that BAME personnel are significantly more likely to complain about bullying, harassment and discrimination than their white counterparts.