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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Film leads to Army bullying probe
Image apparently showing soldiers with bags over their heads

The Army has begun an investigation into the training of young recruits after the BBC obtained video footage.

Amateur film by a soldier at the Army's School of Infantry in Catterick last year appears to show a soldier putting his boot on a recruit's neck.

Anti-bullying campaigner Lynn Farr said the "fine line" between discipline and abuse is "crossed over far too much".

Last month the MoD accepted there had to be a complete change of culture in the training of recruits.

It followed a House of Commons committee report which criticised the MoD for failing in its "duty of care" towards young soldiers.

Wondering

One British Army soldier garrisoned at Catterick said he has been persistently bullied in his unit and is now absent without leave.

"It scares me now, the thought of going back there. Imagine going to work every day and wondering if you are going to be hit in the face, in the chest," he said.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said the Army certainly has a duty of care to ensure its recruits are not bullied, but it also has another duty of care "to ensure they know the job of an infantryman" and how to survive in combat.

"But they are aren't supposed to be humiliated," he said.

Our correspondent added that some of these pictures "are uncomfortably similar to images of prisoner abuse in Iraq".

Campaigners are calling for a new complaints procedure, outside the chain of command in the Army.

Mrs Farr has campaigned to stop abuse in the forces since her 18-year-old son Daniel died in Catterick in 1997.

She said soldiers are frequently seeking help from her.

However, Hughie Monro, the Commandant of the Army School of Infantry, told the BBC the Army had "turned a corner".

"We really are going forwards in a proper and positive way. I am very proud of what goes on here.

"I think there's a lot still to be done and I am certainly not saying to you we've got this right yet. There's a long way to go but we are going in the right direction."


SEE ALSO:
Catterick families urge inquiry
11 Nov 03 |  North Yorkshire



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