Less than a week after police officers and armed forces personnel were told not to wear their uniforms whilst off duty, including on the way in to work, children in the army cadet forces have been issued with the same advice. They are also being told to search training areas and accommodation before using the areas.
A notice issued by Facebook advised units to put “appropriate security measures” in place with “immediate effect”, whilst a spokesman for the 235 Westminster Cadet Detachment took to Twitter to advise the cadets to “Reminder not to travel into the unit in uniform. Bring it in a bag and change in the unit,” the Daily Mail has reported
A few days ago, police in Manchester were also told not to wear their uniforms whilst off duty, including travelling to and from work, thanks to an anonymous, credible tip off regarding a planned attack.
And Whitehall officials have stated that an increased level of “chatter” has been detected amongst jihadis wanting to carry out attacks on serving soldiers similar to that which took the life of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in Woolwich, London last year. Commanding officers in the army have told soldiers that the threat level has been raised from “substantial” to “severe”, the highest level, which means that they must be on the lookout for imminent attack.
In light of the heightened security measures, a spokesman from the Middlesex and North West London Army Cadet Force has issued a six point check list, designed to manage the security of children in its forces across the region.
The points, issued to over 1,000 children, instruct “No uniform when travelling to and from cadet activities”; cadets to maintain “vigilance when travelling including at motorway service stations… hence civilian clothes when travelling”; ensure vehicles are guarded or parked in a secure area”; and “carry out searches of training areas, ranges and accommodation before occupation”.
They were also instructed to secure all accommodation when not in use, and report any suspicious activity. A Combined Cadet Force source told the Mail: “It is such a terrible shame that children are being told not to wear their uniforms. It is sad they can’t proudly walk the streets.”
Last month a 15 year old army cadet was attacked at a bus stop in Manchester, with a makeshift flame thrower, whilst selling poppies ahead of Remembrance Sunday. Callum Watkins was wearing his uniform at the time. He suffered minor burns.