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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Army bullying rife, say soldiers
Soldier stands guard at Deepcut barracks
The figures follow findings of rape and beatings at Deepcut
Soldiers think physical and mental abuse in the Army is commonplace, a survey by the Army suggests.

It found 85% of the 2,000 soldiers asked believed bullying existed in the army and there were reports of sexual and racial discrimination.

The figures were missing from the Army's Continuous Attitudes Survey, released to MPs in October. The Liberal Democrats have demanded an explanation.

The Ministry of Defence has said it is determined to stamp out bullying.

Frankly, there's some pretty harrowing reading here
Paul Keetch
Lib Dems

It is investigating why the bullying figures were not in the report when it was released to the House of Commons library.

"What it is definitely not, is a cover-up," an MoD spokesman told BBC News.

"I suspect it is an administrative error, but we are investigating."

He said the figures had been on the MoD website since the report was released.

The Army's Continuous Attitude Survey revealed half of soldiers thought sexual discrimination took place.

About one third of troops believed colleagues suffered racial discrimination.

Only a quarter claimed to be happy with procedures for dealing with complaints about bullying and harassment.

However, the MoD pointed out that only 7% of soldiers said they had been bullied in the past 12 months.

'Harrowing reading'

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Paul Keetch said of the bullying figures: "Frankly, there's some pretty harrowing reading here."

The details come in the wake of fresh calls for a public inquiry at the Deepcut base in Surrey.

A police investigation into the deaths of four recruits at the base between 1995 and 2002 uncovered over 100 claims of rape, racism and beatings.

An independent review, but not a full public inquiry, has been announced by the government.

The MoD denied bullying was prevalent in the army and said it had a zero-tolerance approach to it.




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Families are still calling for a public inquiry



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