Army tries trooping other colours

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The Independent Online
THE ARMY said yesterday that it was finally facing up to its responsibility to give equal treatment to ethnic recruits, even in its most elite regiments, writes Ian Burrell.

Tourists passing the Hyde Park headquarters of the Household Cavalry yesterday may have been surprised to see dozens of young black men from London and Birmingham and a busload of Sikhs from Leicester drilling on the parade ground. The potential recruits were undergoing a four-day course to give them a taste of life in the Guards regiments.

For the military it was an opportunity to trumpet its commitment to equal opportunities and television cameras were summoned to film the top brass's promises to rid the ranks of the "stigma of racism".

Military chiefs fear high-profile discrimination cases brought by black soldiers, and damaging reports by race watchdogs, are a serious disincentive to potential ethnic recruits. So the Household Cavalry yesterday launched a new race-conscious recruitment video, Changing of the Guard, intended to make black recruits more at home.