Forces accused of condoning racist abuse Racist abuse still entrenched in the forces challenged over pervasive racism

The Armed Forces still have a "pervasive, long running and deeply entrenched problem of racism", according to an independent survey published yesterday.

A report by the Office of Public Management, an independent think-tank, was particul- arly critical of the Navy which, it said, was "not justified in describing itself as an equal opportunities employer".

The study found that terms of racial abuse were still widespread as part of the procedure for knocking recruits into shape during initial training, and that many senior officers condoned this practice and the use of racist language.

The report coincided within a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, "Racism in the Army" last night, which highlighted four cases of racial harassment. Whereas such cases were the worst examples, the OPM report identified far wider incidence of racial discrimination.

The report came as a bombshell to many senior officers in the services who insist that no problem exists. In June last year, the Armed Forces launched an initiative to monitor its workforce, recruit more members of ethnic minorities and train commanders at every level in equal opportunities. However, the report said. "while we commend these efforts, we strongly suspect full implementation will not be achieved until all dimensions of `the problem' are recognised."

The report found that only about 1 per cent of the personnel in the Armed Forces are of ethnic minority origin, compared with 6 per cent in the workforce as a whole. Among officers, the proportion is even smaller, and there are no minority admirals or generals. The highest ranking non- white officers are an army brigadier and an air commodore.

Yesterday, senior MoD sources said they broadly accepted the criticisms but that it was difficult to increase the number of non-white people in senior positions given the small number in the organisation as a whole. A senior RAF officer said the long-term aim was to bring the proportion closer to 6 per cent, though, he said, a quota would be illegal.

The Navy came out worst. The researchers found the widely expressed view that black people "did not like water", "cannot fight", "are prevented from leaving home by their parents" and "want special diets and you cannot have that in a fighting force".

Other comments included "where would you pray to Mecca on a submarine?"

The team was told that that terms such as "Midnight" or "Snowy" were seen as terms of affection, rather than abuse.

"Regrettably", the report continued, "there were some senior officers (that is, captain RN and above), who did not find the terms `coon' or `nigger' unacceptable, with perhaps the proviso - `I wouldn't say that in front of a coloured person'."

Racially offensive language, behaviour and attitudes remained "a significant feature of life in the army" and the RAF. The report cited the RAF practice of "packaging", so that high-profile activities, such as guards of honour for VIPs, should feature no "blacks, pakis, spots or specs".

Dispatches investigated four more extreme cases of racism in the Army. Winston Clay suffered six years of racial abuse in the Royal Artillery. He was called "coon", "nigger" and "wog", and eventually went absent without leave. He was then arrested and sent to a military prison, which he said he preferred, because there were no racist taunts. He left the army last month.

Mark Parchment, a Royal Marine, told Dispatches that during his training, "a corporal came into our accommodation and presented me with a spear. He said this is going to be my personal weapon and I would have to maintain it and keep it through training. He also nicknamed me badingi and said that from now on I was to be known in the section and throughout the troop as that name."

The most bizarre case was Soloman Raza who was abused and beaten on a daily basis while in basic training because his father was a Pakistani. While serving in Bosnia he was also accused of siding with the Muslims there.

"Some of them said to me, `We're going to do some Pakis, we're going to kill them all.' Then one of them turned round and said `Why do we have to wait until then? There's a Paki, let's give him a kicking', which they did." They ruptured a kidney, which put him in hospital for 10 days. After returning to Britain he attempted suicide.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering