The number of ethnic minorities entering the Army has nearly doubled over
the past year following a campaign to overcome racism and discrimination.
Colonel Alisdair Lowdon, head of Army recruiting, said the proportion of
black and Asian Army recruits has increased from just over 3 per cent to 5.7
per cent in the year to April.
Improvements in the Household Cavalry is even more marked with 6 per cent of
its intake now from ethnic minorities.
Lowden said the Army has steadily improved diversity throughout the ranks
since it set up diversity targets in 1996 when only 0.7 per cent of new recruits
were from ethnic minorities.
Its campaign to improve diversity has included placing equal opportunity
officers in every regiment, creating a 15-strong recruit- ment team to promote careers
to ethnic minorities in schools and using advertising campaigns that target all
"We knew we had a problem and it had to be tackled," Lowdon said.
"We have taken positive action and there has been a lot of momentum."
Lowdon said diversity targets for next year have not been set but the Army
plans to increase them yearly.
He believes the battle to improve the Army’s image will eventually become
easier as more soldiers from ethnic minorities climb the ranks and become role
models for young people from their culture.
The drive for culture change was sparked when the Commission for Racial
Equality questioned the Army’s recruitment policy in the mid-1990s.
…but Met fails to attract black recruits
London’s specialist police units are
failing to recruit officers from ethnic minorities.
Research for the Metropolitan Police reveals that black and
Asian officers are under represented in units such as the Flying Squad, the
anti-terrorist branch, the mounted police department and Special Branch.
In the 114-strong anti-terrorist branch there are no black or
Asian officers at all – despite heavy investigation of Islamic groups and just
37 out of 1,051 officers in the Flying Squad are from ethnic minorities.
Bernard Hogan-Howe, assistant commissioner for HR at the Met,
said the survey was part of regular diversity monitoring.
He said the Met has been running programmes that aim to
increase the representation of ethnic minorities, such as open days at
specialist units, but they need to do better.
"The next stage is to look at our plans and continue with