Army defies child rights campaigners, intensifies intake of 16-year-olds for riskiest roles
Figures released today reveal that the British Army has increased its intake of 16-year-olds in the past 12 months, defying calls from the UN, children’s rights organisations and others campaigning for an end to the recruitment of minors.
- 16-year-old recruits outnumber any other age group and are made to serve 50 per cent longer than adults
- Courts rule MoD has unlimited powers to discriminate against young recruits
In the 12 months to 30 September 2016, the Army enlisted 1,000 16-year-olds (up from 870 in the previous 12 months), accounting for 13 per cent of total enlisted intake. This makes 16-year-olds the single biggest age group entering the Army, for the first time since 2012. The overall intake of minors as a percentage of enlisted recruits rose to 24.1 per cent (up from 22.5 per cent in the previous period), while intake of adults decreased.
The Army’s recruitment policies state that it uses recruitment of minors as ‘an opportunity to mitigate Standard Entry [adult] shortfalls, particularly for the Infantry’. The Infantry has the highest fatality and injury rate of any major branch of the armed forces, with infantrymen in Afghanistan seven times more likely to be killed than personnel in the rest of the British armed forces.… Read more