Saturday, March 15, 2008

UK: Military uniforms in public ‘risk offending minorities’

UK: What a disgrace. The worst part is the RAF leaders praising this sort of nonsense.

Certain areas in Britain will still have to remain off-limits for servicemen and women in military gear, despite the Government’s desire for a nationwide uniform free-for-all, senior RAF sources acknowledged yesterday.

After the ban on uniforms in Peterborough, ordered by the station commander at nearby RAF Wittering, one senior air force source said that military commanders had to be aware of potential problems of personnel wearing combat and other military clothes in the street.

“We’re aware of the sensitivities, for example, in some ethnic minority communities which is why we need to have a dialogue with local authorities and police if we don’t want to cause a problem,” the source said.

Group Captain Ro Atherton, station commander at RAF Wittering, was praised by her superiors for taking the “sensible precaution” of advising personnel under her command to wear civilian clothes in parts of Peterborough after a number of incidents of abuse by members of the public.

The RAF said the ban would be reviewed but there was no question of overruling Group Captain Atherton who was in the best position to make a judgment, after taking advice from the military police and the local police force.

“This was not a blanket ban for the whole of Peterborough but service personnel were advised to watch out for certain areas,” the senior RAF source said.

Yesterday it emerged that students at University College London voted to ban the military from setting up recruitment stalls there. They also backed a ban on the Officer Training Corps at the college campus.

A meeting of the students’ union supported a motion condemning British Forces for waging “an agressive war overseas”.

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