Army chiefs spend £1.3m on showers and toilets as part of gender-neutral drive
Defence chiefs have spent £1.3million upgrading showers and toilets at Sandhurst as part of a programme of bringing in gender-neutral facilities.
Six blocks at the world famous Royal Military Academy – just 36 toilets in total – have been converted to single-sex.
Similar works to introduce gender neutral facilities at the Ministry of Defence in London cost just £15,000 – although officials point out that involved only 13 toilets and no showers.
Documents revealing the cost said the Sandhurst blocks, some more than a century old, were “refurbished and converted to unisex ablution areas, including toilets, to ensure they were fit-for-purpose”.
All platoons at the academy, where both Prince William and Harry trained, are mixed gender.
But one former instructor claimed staff were baffled.
The source said: “Sandhurst functioned perfectly well with single-sex toilets. Spending over £1million is crazy.
“We constantly cut budgets, yet there’s always cash when political correctness is the issue.”
Col Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, said: “It’s shocking the Army is dragged into this political correctness.
“Given how stretched our forces are, it’s surprising someone has time to worry about this sort of thing.”
The works are part of a series of modernisation efforts by defence chiefs.
They include scrapping gender-specific terms such as rifleman and guardsman.
The RAF is the only service with equivalent female ranks of airwoman and aircraftwoman.
The MoD’s equipment plan for the next ten years is already expected to overrun by more than £7billion.
In the next two years the armed forces are expected to face huge personnel cuts, with the Army losing up to 10,000 troops.
Emma Kosmin, of campaign group Stonewall, said: “Part of creating inclusive environments is having facilities that everyone feels safe to use.
“It’s great Sandhurst are taking steps to make theirs accessible, and we’re proud to work with them to help support all of the LGBT+ people who serve their country.”
The Army said: “Work to modernise these facilities was completed over two years ago. The Army is proud to be a modern and inclusive employer.”