HC Deb 07 March 1988 vol 129 cc57-8W
Mr. Hume

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rules or guidelines govern recruitment to the armed services in respect of persons(a) with convictions, (b) convictions of murder and (c) on parole.

Mr. Freeman

When considering applications from individuals who have been convicted of an offence the services are bound by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. The Act lays down, according to sentence passed, those convictions which can and cannot be deemed to be "spent" under the Act and if the designated period of time has elapsed since the individual was convicted it is not necessary to advise the recruiting staff of it. Therefore, a candidate could quite legitimately enter the armed forces having at some time in the past been convicted of an offence.

Even in cases where a conviction is not spent, entry is not automatically refused. Recruiting staff many, after giving due consideration to the offence committed, the individual's conduct since and any other relevant information they have before them, decide to accept the candidate. However, if the individual is still subject to any form of supervision order, it is unlikely he or she would be accepted; this would include an individual who had been convicted of murder and was released on licence.

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