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THE armed forces have an “unacceptable level of inappropriate behaviour” among troops and a “sub-optimal system for dealing with it when it does occur,” a new report has found.
Air Marshal Michael Wigston said the scale of sexual offences and bullying among troops was “bleak” and “damages the UK Armed Forces’ hard-won reputation.”
The senior Royal Air Force officer began work on the report in April after the news that six serving soldiers allegedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in her sleep.
Mr Wigston has made 36 recommendations to the Ministry of Defence.
His definition of “inappropriate behaviour” ranged from bringing the armed forces into disrepute to criminal activity such as sexual assault.
He also highlighted a generational issue within the armed forces in approaches to inappropriate behaviour as younger and more diverse recruits are “led by a cohort described by one external organisation as a ‘pack mentality of white middle-aged men, especially in positions of influence’ whose behaviours are shaped by the Armed Forces of 20 years ago.”
He also noted that the military’s culture lagged behind wider society on the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.
The report comes as an employment tribunal is considering allegations of racism in the parachute regiment.
Two black ex-paratroopers have claimed that white colleagues displayed nazi, SS, and Confederate flags at their barracks in Colchester as well as photos of Adolf Hitler.
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