Poor image will have negative impact on Army recruitment

The Army will struggle to meet recruitment targets this year due to its ‘negative portrayal’ in the media, according to the government.

Junior defence minister, Lord Dyson, said the result of adverse reports in newspapers would be that the target of recruiting and training 2,835 infantry soldiers in 2005-2006 was unlikely to be met.

Last week, six former chiefs of staff told the House of Lords that the Armed Forces were “under legal siege and being pushed in the direction in which an order could be seen as improper or legally unsound”.

Admiral Lord Boyce, the most recently retired chief of defence staff, said: “[The forces] are being pushed by people not schooled in operations but only in political correctness.”

The former chiefs of staff made their stand following the Old Bailey trial of trooper Kevin Williams of the 2nd Royal Tank regiment. Williams was charged with murdering an Iraqi civilian after the Crown Prosecution Service overruled his commanding officer who had said he behaved within the rules of engagement.

The charge was dropped after it was reviewed by the director of public prosecutions.

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