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Army to relax security checks for recruits in diversity drive

The British Army wants to relax security checks for recruits from overseas to boost diversity and inclusion, The Telegraph can reveal.

Britain’s armed forces have consistently failed to hit recruitment targets and are looking overseas to boost ethnic minority representation, which currently stands at 14 per cent of the regular army.

A document leaked to this paper, titled The British Army’s Race Action Plan, notes that the Army “struggles to attract talent from ethnic minority backgrounds into the officer corps”.

Published in March 2023 and understood to be the latest guidance, it outlines a series of “actions” to boost representation and describes security clearance vetting as being “the primary barrier to non-UK personnel gaining a commission in the Army”.

It vows to “challenge SC [security clearance] requirements” to boost representation in the intelligence and officer corps, positions which have “uncontrolled access to secret assets”.

People from Commonwealth countries can serve in the British Army, however, the race plan notes that “There are only 131 [serving] non-UK regular officers” of which “28 were recorded as an ethnic minority” with the rest being white Irish or white Commonwealth.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who served as the head of MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said: “The evidence published today in The Telegraph, which apparently prioritises diversity, equality, and inclusion in matters of national security, is very worrying indeed. Effective security policies at whatever level they are applied simply do not allow for ‘politically correct’ soft edges.

“The fighting capability of our armed forces, already hollowed out as the Defence Select Committee recently documented, must not be further compromised by the over-application of DEI ideology. We are living in a world where the threat of war is getting closer.

“We give succour to our enemies if the concentration on the creation of an effective warrior mentality is not the primary objective of our navy, army and airforce.”