about Forces Watch
What we do
ForcesWatch develops projects and works with organisations, individuals and initiatives concerned about military recruitment. We are currently working in the following areas:
Challenging military presence in education
The armed forces visit thousands of UK schools each year, providing free resources, presentations and recruitment activities. The Government’s ‘military ethos and skills’ programme includes a number of initiatives that will see more military-led activity in schools. ForcesWatch are concerned about the armed forces being promoted to children within schools and colleges. See more here
Advocating for change
ForcesWatch campaigns for a change in policy to: raise the minimum age of recruitment to 18, make terms and conditions for serving personnel clearer and less restrictive, and for greater recognition of conscientious objection. Recent campaigning led to a change in the law so that under-18s in the forces now have the right to leave, and can hand in their notice any time before their 18th birthday. See more here
The military in society
ForcesWatch observe and respond to ways in which the military is being promoted as a normal part of everyday life. We believe that uncritical support for the armed forces stifles concerns about how young people are recruited and limits debate on alternatives to war. See more here
Who is ForcesWatch and how is it funded
ForcesWatch is a non-profit organisation established in April 2010.
We currently have three part-time paid members of staff and our work is overseen by a Steering Committee.
Emma Sangster is the ForcesWatch Coordinator.
Owen Everett focuses on our education work.
Douglas Beattie focuses on our parliamentary and media work.
ForcesWatch is currently funded by grants from trusts and by donations. Our work covers a range of activities, some of which are categorised as charitable and some as non-charitable; these attract funding accordingly.
The grants fund a shared office space and 3 part-time workers.
We are seeking donations to fund our project work.
FAQs about ForcesWatch
Read our responses to questions about our work.
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- young people are not adequately supported to make an informed choice about enlistment, and cannot be reliably assumed to do so until the age of 18;
- the armed forces target recruitment activities at children who are as yet too young to enlist;
- the government and armed forces promote a sanitised, glamorised view of warfare and military life, which is disingenuous and particularly inappropriate in civilian education settings such as schools and colleges.
- armed forces personnel are subject to unduly restrictive terms and conditions of service; and
- the state uses the popularity of armed forces personnel to garner public support for the militarisation of foreign policy.
Enormous damage is done to all those caught up in armed conflict. It is, therefore, vital that there is wide critical debate about the military and its recruitment practices. This concern underpins our work.
ForcesWatch is committed to:
- respect for all people, including those we disagree with
- honesty in how we approach and present the issues
- fostering critical awareness of the issues among the public and ourselves
- including and involving a diversity of people, including a range of views and skills