Look what hap­pens when the Army goes soft on drugs

Sol­diers brazenly snort­ing co­caine – then post­ing videos of them­selves do­ing it on so­cial me­dia...

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Mark Ni­col DE­FENCE DITOR

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.