Armed Forces: Recruitment

House of Lords written question – answered at on 16 October 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Spokesperson in the Lords (Civil Liberties), Home Affairs, Spokesperson in the Lords (Africa), Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What restrictions are imposed by the Armed Forces on past offenders who wish to join up; and where potential recruits can access this information on the internet.

Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Business and Regulatory Reform), Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment and Support) (also Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Applicants with the following convictions are not to be considered for the Armed Forces:

hospital order;offences involving loss of life;sexual offences (including all those listed on the sex offenders register);arson;misuse of drugs—any offence relating to trafficking or supply of drugs; any offence relating to the use of class A drugs; and more than one conviction for "possession for personal use" of a class B or C drug; and .three or more offences against persons, property, or dishonesty.

In assessing applications for the Armed Forces, all three services' recruiting organisations are guided by the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. In general, therefore, no applicant for the Armed Forces is eligible if they have convictions which are "unspent". In the vast majority of cases such applicants are required to serve their full "rehabilitation period", reckoned from the date of conviction, before being considered for Armed Forces employment.

During the application process individuals are handed a copy of MoD Form 493—Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974: Advice to Applicants to HM Armed Forces, which details obligations to declare spent or unspent civil convictions and lists the rehabilitation periods appropriate to the sentence. Reference to MoD Form 493 is made on the Armed Forces Application Form Information and Guidance Booklet (AFCO Form 5). Inquirers and potential applicants can access information on ROA through the internet via the following link at

They can also access internet details via the following services' career websites at: and follow the link to online careers office where they will receive advice and how it applies to them in relation to their interest in the Army at: under the heading "Will I be able to join if I have a criminal conviction?".

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.