The British Army is failing to meet its own targets on recruiting black and ethnic minority candidates, it has emerged, after it was revealed there is not a single non-white high-ranking officer in the forces.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has promised to increase the number of ethnic minority recruits by the end of the decade in an effort to make the Army, Navy and RAF better reflect the makeup of the UK.
But defence chiefs have been forced to concede that no progress has been made.
Of the 133 highest-ranking officers, all are white, while there are only 100 Asian and 60 black junior officers in the Army out of 13,000 – equivalent to a minuscule 2.4 per cent.
Ministry of Defence diversity figures show that of 7,000 officers in the Royal Navy, 20 are of ethnic origin, as are 75 out of 8,000 in the RAF.
In all, seven per cent of the armed forces are black, Asian and minority ethnic , a level that has not changed in the last year.
That amounts to 10,490 ethnic minority personnel across all three branches of the armed forces.
By contrast, 12 per cent of the overall British workforce are non-white.
Labour MP Kevan Jones, a former defence minister, told the Sun newspaper: “The armed forces need to reflect modern Britain. Without changes in the senior ranks, it will frustrate efforts to recruit more individuals from the ethnic minorities.”