Leaked emails have revealed that White men who applied to join the Royal Air Force were described as “useless” in a push to meet diversity targets
The emails, which are set to renew the row over diversity quotas, were sent by a squadron leader in the RAF’S recruitment division in January 2021.
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They show how officers appeared to be under pressure to filter out white male recruits and fast-track women and ethnic minorities.
The Daily Mail reports: The RAF is also reportedly paying £5,000 each to 31 white men who it found had been unfairly disadvantaged by its recruitment policy.
And some selection boards were cancelled if they did not include women or ethnic minorities, according to the leaked messages.
One email seen by Sky News, which was sent on January 19, 2021 under the subject line ‘BOARDING PROFILE’, reads: ‘I would be grateful if you could provide me with a breakdown of the candidates awaiting boarding, by Br [branch – the type of profession, such as pilot, engineer or chef] and BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic]/Female.’
He continued: ‘I noted that the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy, if we don’t have enough BAME and female to board then we need to make the decision to pause boarding and seek more BAME and female from the RF [recruitment force].
‘I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, lets [sic] get a [sic] focussed as possible, I am more than happy to reduce boarding if needed to have a balanced BAME/female/Male board.’
The Ministry of Defence has stressed that the ‘useless’ remark did not refer to individuals’ talent, but rather the fact their recruitment would not help boost diversity targets.
An email sent the following day by the same squadron leader to a more senior member of the recruitment team suggested they were struggling to hit diversity targets.
It also described the efforts being made to get more women and ethnic minority candidates onto selection boards.
Selection boards are used to choose recruits for different branches at RAF Halton and RAF Cranwell, the air force’s training colleges.
The second email read: ‘You will note however that the pot for BAME and female is drained.
‘From 336 Cs [candidates] we have c10% female, 5% BAME which we will burn through quickly using the boarding profile proposed.
‘As you know we select approx. 45-50% of BAME and female that we board therefore we expect to select c15 female and 7 BAME from the current cohort.
‘The demand signal needs to go back to RF [the recruitment force] to focus now on sending all the BAME and female they have.
‘We have cancelled 2 x boards next week due to them having no female/BAME or priority Br [priority branch] on them’.
The emails date back to when recruitment and selection was led by Group Captain William Dole.
He succeeded Group Captain Elizabeth Nicholl, who resigned in protest at what she deemed to be an ‘unlawful order’ to effectively pause the selection of white men in an effort to hit ‘impossible’ diversity targets, according to defence sources.
The order was never implemented because of her resignation.
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