Army official says lack of intelligence explains suicidal tendencies

A senior officer has caused outrage after suggesting that new recruits to the Army are of lower intelligence and therefore more likely to commit suicide.

During a press conference in London yesterday, general Anthony Palmer, the deputy chief of defence staff, was asked why there was such a high suicide rate in his service.

He said: “There is statistically a predisposition to self-harm and suicide among the less intelligent and by and large the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy recruit at a higher level of educational attainment than the Army.”

His comments follow a government-commissioned report by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), which called for an overhaul in the way the armed forces manages and cares for young recruits.

The ALI probe was commissioned last year in response to deaths at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey.

The investigation found that recruits dropped out early because of poor training and care practices. The report said recruits were victims of bullying, harassment and injury, and there were high levels of self-harm at the establishment.

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