§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what categories of criminal record debar a candidate from joining Her Majesty's armed forces. 
§ Mr. Doug Henderson
The regulations with regard to applicants with criminal records differ slightly for each Service. However, in general, any custodial sentence, including corrective training, youth custody, and detention, would debar a candidate from joining any of the Armed Forces. Additionally, any conviction for sexual offences, under the Sexual Offences Acts 1956, 1967 or 1985; the Street Offences Act 1959; the Indecency with Children Act 1960; the Protection of Children Act 1978; or the Sex Offenders Act 1997, or for misuse of drugs will debar candidates from entry. Experimentation with soft drugs, however, is not an automatic disqualification from Armed Forces employment. For other minor convictions each application will be considered on merit and the nature of the offence.
All criminal convictions and police cautions must be declared for security clearance purposes. All personnel recruited into the Naval Service and the RAF, all Army Officers, and some Army Other Ranks in specific trades, for example the Intelligence Corps, require security clearance before entry. The requirements of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1978 are always taken into consideration.