UK To Investigate Reports Of Positive Discrimination In Its Air Force

Earlier, UK media reported that the RAF was holding back


All reports of positive discrimination in the United Kingdom (UK) Royal Air Force (RAF) will be investigated, the Minister of State at the UK Ministry of Defence, James Heappey, said on Saturday.

Earlier, UK media reported, citing informed sources, that the RAF was holding back the recruitment of white men in order to meet diversity targets for ethnic minorities and women. “No minister in the Ministry of Defence and no chief of any service gets to break the law. So if there is evidence of positive discrimination, the people responsible for that will be held vigorously to account,” James Heappey told Sky News.

He confirmed that the ministry did ask the armed forces to look into taking positive action to improve workplace diversity, however, the lowering of standards and operational impact is unacceptable.

“What is definitely not true is that recruitment of white men is in any way being paused. It is definitely not true that women and ethnic minorities are being loaded onto courses now, whilst white men are not,” the minister added.

Sky News reported that earlier this week the head of RAF recruitment resigned in protest of reaching the “impossible” diversity targets for the current year.

The UK government set a recruitment target for all armed forces in 2015 to reach 10% ethnic minority recruits and 15% female recruits by 2020. In March 2021, the RAF announced that it exceeded this target, reaching 20% of female recruits, which was impossible to check according to the RAF statistics, which showed that they recruited only 18.5% of women and had no data on ethnic minorities, Sky News reported, citing military forces.

An RAF spokesperson said, responding to the allegations, that operational effectiveness was of paramount importance to the armed forces and there was never any lowering of standards.

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