Armed Forces Recruitment
February 2012 Update
Until recently under 18s in the armed forces, after their initial six months in service, have not been able to leave as of right (see previous briefings).
In June 2011 we finally succeeded in getting the ‘The Armed Forces (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2011’ on to the Statue book.
Sixteen and 17 year olds now have the statutory right to leave the armed forces at any time up until their 18th birthday.
Work in this area has been as slow process combining coalition building; work with decision makers; intervention in the press and raising this issue as a campaign among Friends (see for instance articles in the Friend).
At a Parliamentary level this has been the culmination of many years work involving scores of Parliamentary Questions, Early Day Motions, Submissions to the Defence Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights and a Private Members Bill.
While under eighteens now have a right of discharge the issues of the difficulties faced when leaving the army remain a concern. A disproportionate number of homeless people have had a background in the armed forces. There is high incidence of mental ill health in those leaving the armed forces. The nature of the training, given to recruits does not necessarily equip them for civilian life when they. A sixteen year old who remains in the army for twelve years still potentially faces a working life of forty years when they leave.
News Release - 11 January 2011 - Quakers push for recruitment age to be raised
News Release - 16 May 2011 - Quakers seek care for young army recruits