Ministry to face race bias inquiry

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The Independent Online
THE Ministry of Defence is to be investigated for racial discrimination, it was announced yesterday. The Commission for Racial Equality took the action after an Army Board of Inquiry found a black soldier was discriminated against when his attachment posting to the Life Guards was turned down.

The commission fears discrimination could be widespread and has asked anybody to get in touch who may have had problems relating to recruitment, transfer or attachment in the Life Guards, now part of the Household Cavalry.

An MoD spokesman said they had not been officially informed of the investigation but full co-operation would be offered. If the commission finds unlawful discrimination has occurred, it can recommend improvements to policies and procedures and issue a non-discriminating notice requiring the MoD to stop such action.

Cpl Jake Malcolm, who joined the Army and served in the Gulf war with the Royal Engineers, had his posting to the Light Aid Detachment of the Life Guards changed to an attachment to the Royal Tank Regiment when it was realised he was black.

He was paid pounds 6,500 damages in October last year after also being subjected to racial slurs by other soldiers. Other cases have highlighted racial abuse in the services.

Earlier this month a former soldier who went absent without leave because he was being racially abused was award pounds 8,000, including pounds 3,000 in punitive damages.

And last July another black soldier was awarded pounds 8,500 after he was thrown into a bath of cleaning fluid to allow other soldiers to 'scrub him white'.