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BBC Radio 1: "Forces Need More Ethnic Minorities Says Senior Officer"


War Hero
Fully concur, it's a problem that needs a radical re-think.

It's interesting to note that the hugely expensive ethnic minority recruiting initiatives, manned primarily from individuals drawn from those perceived as ethnic minority groups bore very little success, to the extent the "Diversity Action Teams" have been pretty much made obsolete. The outward impression from those service-people in these teams is that they were heartily sick to death of being "wheeled-out" every time there was a media opportunity or newsworthy diversity issue as the "token ethnic" because of their visual appearance. Many people serving, regardless of ethnicity, prefer not to be displayed in public as the "face of equality" as that in itself is discrimination.

A conundrum indeed.


War Hero
Lets hope that they do not go the way of other organisations were the standards are adjusted down to achieve the required ethnicity mix.
When I served ALL creeds and colours took the same exans and were expected to achieve the same results.
Politicol correctness will be to the detriment of the services.


I think that it’s not something you can legislate for, to be truly equal and fair the forces only need to reflect the amount of people from all ethnic backgrounds that apply and are good enough for the roles that are available. I am confident that the armed forces are not currently discriminating against people of an ethnic minority during the recruitment process so all at shows is there aren’t enough of the people they feel they need applying. The only thing I feel they could do would be to target recruitment at areas they seem as lacking in diversity which the Rear Admiral is saying but reading the article the people they interview in his target demographic seem to have an inherent dislike for the British Armed Forces. How much time and money do we spend trying to change that attitude rather than training the people that already do want to fight for their country and can make the grade? Anyone from any background as long as they are commonwealth citizens are allowed to join, if they are deciding not to then we can’t force them. The ethnic minorities he feels are missing are exposed to as much recruiting material currently any other potential recruit. Do we then choose between two identical candidates for the same job based on their ethnic background? I don’t think that is a step in the right direction. It should be, and not just in the Armed Forces, the best candidate that applies that gets the job.


War Hero
It should be, and not just in the Armed Forces, the best candidate that applies that gets the job.

That has always been the case with regard the Naval Service.

Officers use merit-based selection where those scoring higher are selected first. Ratings are selected in date order providing they meet or exceed the entry criteria. In all cases no exceptions are made with regard ethnicity.


War Hero
Well if a picture paints a thousand words then the ethnicity of our armed forces shows the loyalty towards our nation, )or the benefit system as you see fit!)


War Hero
But in Slough, where the council estimates almost 50% of the population to be ethnic minorities, young Asians tell us joining the forces isn't an option.

Yasar Khan is a 26-year-old Muslim. He said: "If we go to Afghanistan to fight against the Muslims we do feel like we're betraying our own people.

"I do consider myself to be British but I am a Muslim first and foremost".

I must have missed something here - are the Taliban the ONLY Muslims in Afghanistan? What about the Afghan Muslim majority we are fighting alongside? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrghhhh!


Good on the Naval Service, I think the biggest concern to me would be if that standard was relaxed in order to recruit a higher proportion of any target group. Do you think that would ever happen?

So how do we encourage more people from ethnic minorities and ones of a high enough calibre to pass to apply is the real question? I do think that is going to be really hard if the attitudes espoused in the article are widespread in the communities the Rear Admiral says are underrepresented.

Consider Pvt Johnson Beharry VC, after he won his gong did we see an influx or Grenadian applicants? That is a serious question and I think it would be interesting to see the figures, I think he is an excellent role model and having achieved the highest order of valour we can bestow hopefully it will have had a positive effect on recruitment. Obviously I’m not advocating giving medals to people in order to drive recruitment but highlighting the actions of particular serving people that strike a chord with who we wish to recruit (and I am sure they are already plentiful) may be an idea.

Or is this just what the failed initiatives above tried to do?


War Hero
So far as I'm aware there are no shortage of overseas applications from ethnic groups resident in Commonwealth countries and Nepal, the primary shortage of ethnic representation appears from UK residents.

For overseas applicants, eligible on grounds of nationality, the main stumbling block is the requirement for prolonged UK residency, which in turn, is currently required for adequate security checks to be carried out.
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Well according to those figures and the percentage of ethnic minorities that make up the composition of the UK (2001 census via Wikipedia) we seem to have fantastic parity. 6.9% of the Armed Forces are from an ethnic minority and 7.1% of the UK as a whole are ethnic minorities (I excluded Chinese people as I do not think they can serve?). Thank you soleil for posting the figures, very interesting reading.
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Well my figures certainly look out of date! I think then if the new and future generation is of a much higher percentage of ethnic minorities then simply focusing recruitment on schools (are we allowed?) will serve to increase the proportion of applicants from the areas we are underrepresented in. Hopefully these school children will not have formed negative ideas about the role of the British Armed forces so that’s something we won’t have to overcome in order to get applications.


War Hero
We have been supplied with a quote from a Muslim person in Slough as to why they wouldn't apply but I have seen nothing from the Afro-Caribbean section of the community to suggest why they are reluctant.I haven't any theories,does anyone else?


War Hero
Super Moderator
We have been supplied with a quote from a Muslim person in Slough as to why they wouldn't apply but I have seen nothing from the Afro-Caribbean section of the community to suggest why they are reluctant.I haven't any theories,does anyone else?

Maybe they only targeted young Muslims to get the expected answer in print?


War Hero
Maybe they only targeted young Muslims to get the expected answer in print?

I'm inclined to agree. I've recruited a fair few Muslims amongst many other beliefs & indeed non-beliefs.

It may well be that ethnic groups, like non-ethnics in UK simply place great distrust in successive UK governments based on their foreign policy, the supposed reasoning behind invading countries & what they have achieved with regard lessening the risk of terrorism at home.
I can only talk from experience but it's a mixed one, I remember as a Nod one of the lads, a black fella, standing on the bottom floor of one of the accom blocks at CTC, as you walked into those things the stairway was on your left, grots were on your left and right but there was an open space before you, they went up 4 floors. The training team was giving him shit for being black, they got a thunderflash, put it in his mouth like a cigar and lit it running away giggling. I was ashamed to be wearing the same uniform as they wore. I also served on Ops where a certain C/Sgt was known as the wasp because he was black and yellow. Wouldn't go walk the walk because he'd be targeted for being Black and standing out from the crowd.

To me both of those situations are wrong, I judge as I find, I've had some cracking fanny of many colours and some bloody good mates from many creeds and colours. Fear and unease about "different" people be it from faith or colour is sad, it shows a lack of intelligence.
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Muslim society is based on religion, the Koran, the Imam, the Mosque, British society is based on the state, The Queen, Parliament, Police, etc. the two aren’t compatible. If we had a large number of Muslims in the forces who would they take their orders from.
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