The Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has told Forces News she believes the Armed Forces are seeing an improvement over issues surrounding race and diversity.
Conservative peer Baroness Goldie, who has held the position since 2019, pointed out that recruitment from the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities is exceeding expectations.
Speaking on National Inclusion Week and ahead of Black History Month, she told Forces News: "We’ve managed to increase the intake.
"We aimed for 10% by 2020, we’ve actually exceeded that, we’re at 11.7% so we’re absolutely going in the right direction."
Over the last year, the MOD has been pushing hard to encourage the BAME communities to see the Armed Forces as a positive career option.
This year saw multiple Black Lives Matter protests against the treatment of black people across the world, including in the UK.
Baroness Goldie said it is important to challenge any negative perception of the forces.
WATCH: Baroness Goldie speaks to Forces News.
"I think we have to understand the passion that was being expressed by the protestors," she said.
“It was a passion I think that actually enveloped the entire country and I think it was responsible for really beginning to tilt the dynamic to make people say ‘you know, there are things happening in the UK, never mind the rest of the world, and we need to start dealing with them’ and I think nowhere was that more true than in defence.
"Certainly, if young people have a perception that defence is a problem rather than an opportunity I’d be very saddened by that."
During the height of the protests, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the MOD has "not done well enough" in tackling issues facing BAME groups, adding the military has "not recruited enough people" from a BAME background and that it has not been a "welcoming place for enough people".
Whilst the head of the UK Armed Forces, General Sir Nick Carter, said the military "must force the pace" it tackles racism and inappropriate behaviour.
Earlier this year an annual report found that for a fourth consecutive year, the military's complaints system was still not efficient, effective or fair, with bullying, harassment and discrimination remaining a more common reason of complaint for both female and BAME personnel.
But Baroness Goldie said the MOD is working on improving the system.
She said: "We’ve also made changes to the complaints procedure to make it more effective, because I think there was a frustration that when people did take action, did complain about an incident, they felt frustrated at the process, at the delays, at the length of time. That’s unacceptable.
"So we’re doing our level best to really cut through that and deliver a complaints system that’s much more fit for purpose."
Cover image: Soldiers from 6 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps prepare for ceremonial duties (Picture: MOD).