Calls to stop under 18s in Army

The Church in Wales is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army. The MoD has come under pressure to raise the minimum Army enlistment age. It follows an open letter from campaign group Child Soldiers International.

Army recruitment age: Send us your views

All of the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open later to the Ministry of Defence - calling for the minimum age for people joining the army to be raised to 18.

Britain is currently among a minority of countries where the minimum voluntary recruitment age is 16.

We want to get your views on this story, and you can get in touch in the following ways:

Bishops join call to stop under 18's joining the Army

Bishops from the Church in Wales are calling for an end to recruiting under 18s to the Army.

Currently 16 year olds can join with parental consent.

The church says the current policy is channelling the youngest, most disadvantaged recruits into the most dangerous frontline combat roles. But The Ministry of Defence says this ignores the opportunities that a military career offers, as Tom Sheldrick reports.

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Call for Army age to be raised: Your views

The Church in Wales is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army. We've been getting your views on this all morning, and here are a selection.

If you want to join the conversation, email us on wales@itv.com, visit our Facebook page or tweet us @itvwales.

I joined the army at 16, was the best thing I ever done. It taught me respect and discipline. Nobody goes to front line until they reach 18.

– Gareth Morgan via email

I don't think the government would be happy, as it could potentially increase young jobless figures...

It has proved to be a decent career for many early school leavers, so why change it?

– Simon Murray on Facebook

The age should be put up to 21.

– Gary Vaatstra on Facebook

MoD: No plans to change Army recruitment policy

The MoD says it has no plans to revisit its recruitment policy for under-18s.

It follows calls from bishops in Wales to raise the minimum Army enlistment age from 16 to 18 years old.

All the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open letter from charity Child Soldiers International, calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army.

This letter unfortunately ignores the benefits and opportunities that a military career offers young people.

We continue to actively recruit across all age groups and as part of our duty of care to our recruits no young person under the age of 18 years may join our Armed Forces without the formal written consent of their parent or guardian.

There are currently no plans to revisit the Government's recruitment policy for under-18s which is fully compliant with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

– MoD Spokesperson

Welsh bishops call for end to under-18s joining Army

Soldiers on training exercise Credit: Press Association

The Church in Wales is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army.

All the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open letter from campaign group Child Soldiers International. They say the MoD should raise the minimum enlistment age from 16 to 18 years old.

The letter, addressed to Defence Minister Mark Francois said,

'We commend the MoD for having ceased routinely deploying children into conflict, but challenge its failure to stop recruiting them'.

It also said, 'Those recruited at 16 have faced double the risk of fatality of adult recruits throughout the conflict in Afghanistan.'

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