Look what happens when the Army goes soft on drugs
Soldiers brazenly snorting cocaine – then posting videos of themselves doing it on social media...
DRESSED in combat uniform, a British soldier casually leans over a desk in his barracks to snort a line of cocaine while his comrades gleefully film him on their mobile phones.
The shocking footage, which was shared among troops on social media, then shows the squaddie rubbing the illegal white powder around his gums.
The video was recorded earlier this year after the Army dropped its ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards drug taking.
As The Mail on Sunday has previously revealed, the Ministry of Defence has been forced to offer second and even third chances to troops who fail Compulsory Drug Tests because of a manpower crisis.
Chronic shortages of soldiers in many regiments has led to a huge drop in troops being kicked out after drug taking. As recently as 2015, just five percent of troops were allowed to stay in the Army after failing a CDT. Now it is 43 per cent.
The disturbing video suggests that the Army’s more relaxed approach has convinced troops they can ignore UK laws on taking Class A drugs.
Other pictures also shared on social media and seen by The Mail on Sunday show quantities of cocaine, other hard drugs such as ketamine, and soldiers’ official British Army identity cards.
The images were shared on a private Facebook group called The Sesh.
The pictures are accompanied by messages boasting about drug taking behaviour, such as: ‘I guess not just civilians like the bing [ drugs]’, ‘Hope everyone is as high as me this fine Saturday evening’ and ‘ Ket + Coke = Happy Wednesday’.
Troops use items of drugs paraphernalia to shield their names on the ID cards but their faces are clearly visible. One of the soldiers who features i n these pictures is believed to belong the 3rd Battalion of the Rifles regiment, which is due to be deployed to Iraq shortly.
Only soldiers holding the rank of corporal and above and aged over 25 are likely to be kicked out of the Army after failing a CDT. All other troops qualify for a reprieve under the ‘exceptional retention in the Service’ policy - which, according to military sources, is now being misused in order to keep up the numbers of t r oops i n understrength units.
Last night, an MoD spokesperson said: ‘ Drug abuse is incompatible with military service and personnel are subject to random compulsory drug testing. This has always been our policy and, except in exceptional circumstances, soldiers caught taking drugs can expect to be discharged.’
Facebook confirmed l ast night it had closed The Sesh because it breached its behaviour guidelines. A spokesperson said: ‘We quickly removed the group once it was reported to us. We encourage our community to report any activity like this using the reporting tools available.’ But troops are now understood to be sharing images of their drug taking on other internet sites.
LOSING BATTLE: How the MoS has reported on drug taking in the ArmySHOCKING: A squaddie snorts cocaine, top, then rubs the powder on his gums as others film the events