The Military Army Blog

Police investigate ‘racist hate speech’ on unofficial British Army website

Police are investigating allegations that users of an unofficial British Army internet forum have been taking part in racist discussions about ethnic minorities, i can reveal. Officers from Humberside Police are examining claims that a series of posts on the Army Rumour Service (ARRSE), which is popular among both serving and ex-soldiers, used racist language about Gypsies and Travellers.

Reading these posts one could certainly be forgiven for forming the view that our Army is in fact a far-right organisation

Shay Clipson

Racist language

In one of several transcripts seen by i, one user posting under an anonymous pseudonym refers to them as filthy, thieving, raping, parasitic scum . Gypsies and Travellers are classed as an ethnic minority in the UK and are protected by equality legislation, making discrimination against them illegal. Another user wrote: Speaking, as I do, for all members of the Armyrats © military community, can I just say that if I was in a unit that contained pikeys I d kill them. Further down the same thread, a second person replied: Personally I would rather rip the skin of [sic] the f****** and roll them in salt before burning them.

One forum user also referred to thieving gyppo c**** , adding: They should all be rounded up into one big field, with all their caravans, then they should be cleansed with fire. Another comment read: I have met good Muslims but never a good Pikey. Shay Clipson, chair of the National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller and Roma Women, found the comments online and reported them to Humberside Police, her local force. It is understood that a number of users have been banned from the site since the complaint was made.

Taken very seriously

Reading these posts about Gypsies, Travellers and other minority groups, one could certainly be forgiven for forming the view that our Army is in fact a far-right organisation, Ms Clipson said.

People may be surprised to learn that there are many Gypsy and Traveller people serving in UK s armed forces but reading the commentary on this site it is no surprise that on the whole they keep their ethnicity secret. A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said the force took all reports of hate crime very seriously and investigate rigorously , adding: This matter has been brought to the attention of our community safety team and we are investigating.

We have investigated but found no evidence linking serving Army personnel to derogatory and racist comments posted on the Army Rumour Service website

Army spokesman

According to the website of MilitaryMedia, which runs ARRSE, around a third of the site s users are serving members of the British military. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Army: No evidence found

The Army Secretariat was also alerted to the comments, but following an investigation said it could not find any evidence which suggested the users were serving members of the armed forces.

An Army spokesman said: We have investigated but found no evidence linking serving Army personnel to derogatory and racist comments posted on the Army Rumour Service website.

The Chief of the General Staff has been clear that creating a diverse, inclusive Army that treats others with respect is one of his highest priorities and that the Army will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour in any form.

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