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Sunday, 12 April, 1998, 03:33 GMT 04:33 UK
Army under fire for 'repressive' image
The Army
Army seen as robotic and repressive but also disciplined and respected
The British Army has an image of being "repressive, robotic and slow to change", according to new research.

The survey of public attitudes to the Army found many people thought it "socially stratified and slow to change".

The research, carried out last year among 300 ordinary people and 'opinion leaders' discovered the Army was seen as "repressive and robotic", "time-warped", "old-fashioned" and "class-based".

But the Army has pointed out those questioned also praised it for the discipline and respect it instilled in recruits.

Army poster
Ethnic minorities under-represented
Earlier this year a senior officer, Major Eric Joyce, was told he faced the sack after writing a series of articles criticising the Army. He said it was steeped in snobbery and racism and in need of radical change.

'Army of the people'

The findings of the survey were carried in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. It said the Army was to be relaunched as a "caring, people's service".

An Army spokesman said: "We have an ongoing strategy to adapt to ongoing changes in society without affecting or degrading the Army's capability to do its job."

He said they were trying to recruit more women to the service.

The Armed Forces Minister Dr John Reid is reportedly supporting moves to change the service into what he describes as an "army of the people, a modern, strong and fair employer and a career of first choice."

Army chiefs are said to be considering commissioning an advertising campaign from Saatchi and Saatchi, as well as establishing a network of Army radio stations, similar to the American Forces Network.

News of the survey and the attempted rebranding of the Army comes only days after the conclusion of a court martial which was enthusiastically covered by most newspapers.

Details of the relationship between Lieutenant Colonel Keith Pople and a senior Wren further embarrassed the Army and may have entrenched public attitudes towards the service.

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