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UK army seeks recruits by offering emotional support

AFP  |  London 

The launched a campaign today highlighting the emotional support available to new recruits as it seeks to address falling soldier numbers -- but drew accusations of Short films entitled "What if I get emotional in the ", "Can I practise my faith in the ", "Do I have to be a superhero?", and "Can I be gay in the " will be broadcast on television, radio and They are part of a drive launched last year presenting the as a family, as military chiefs seek to reach a wider pool of talent to keep their numbers up. But the ads drew criticism for ignoring the fact that soldiers' primary goal is to fight. It comes just weeks after the reportedly abandoned plans to give up its long-running "Be The Best" slogan because it was not inclusive. "The group of people who are interested in joining aren't worrying so much about whether they are going to be listened to or if there's an emotional issue," Richard Kemp, former of British forces in Afghanistan, told television. "What they are worried about more is how they are going to face combat and, not only that -- they are going to be attracted by images of combat because that's why people join the armed forces." The had just over 78,000 full-time members last year, well short of the government's target of 82,000 by 2020.

But the numbers leaving outweigh new recruits. Nick Carter, the of the army, said it used to rely on recruiting young, white men, but there were fewer of them available now as society became more multicultural. "What this campaign is about, frankly, is a recognition that we don't have a fully manned at the moment, that the demography of our country has changed and that we need to reach out to a broader community in order to man that with the right talent," he told radio. He denied Kemp's accusation that the was "being forced down a route of political correctness". "I happen to be very proud of the fact that the British really does respect the background, ethnicity and gender of anybody," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 16:45 IST