Yesterday I was browsing the news and my attention was grabbed by this headline;
Basically, The Army Reserve looks set to fall well short of its target for recruiting new members this year.
In the three months from April to June, only 367 soldiers enlisted – less than a quarter of the target.
The government wants to expand the Reserve Force, formerly the Territorial Army, to 30,000 by 2018 (this is the important bit) to help fill gaps left by cuts to the regular Army. According to the Sunday Times, one “restricted” memo stated: “The Army is failing to attract sufficient recruits.” 367 recruits were enlisted in Q1 of 2013-2014 against a target of 1,432. And I have no idea where the Government’s aim to increase the Reserve Force to 30,000 by 2018 comes from because in 2011 it stood at 31,420 according to official MOD figures. Maybe someone’s been a bit careless and lost a few.
Stats for the Volunteer Force are a bit complex as they are sub-divided into many categories but basically Reserve Forces peaked in 1990 at 90,600 (total for all 3 Forces) and have steadily reduced year on year to 37,070 in 2011
As part of the coalition government’s Defence Review, the number of regular soldiers is set to fall from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while reservist numbers are expected to rise from the current 19,000 to 30,000.
Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan said that he does not believe increasing the size of the Army Reserve was realistic and accused the government of “hollowing out” the armed forces and that the government had been “cynical” in deciding soldiers sacked from the regular army would “suddenly and miraculously” decide to join the reserves.
It would also appear that Army recruitment has been outsourced to a company called Capita.
An un-named Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was “early days” in the recruitment process and it had “always been a challenge”.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said cutting the size of the regular Army was “unfortunately one of the steps we had to take to rebalance the defence budget“.
And now the Armed Forces look like this
Well, all of this reminded me of a similar situation with our great British police Force (sorry, Service)
We too have seen Regular jobs shed and an increasing reliance on PCSOs, Specials and Support Staff.
The Police Service looks like this:
Before you put me in the stocks and throw rotten eggs at me, I AM NOT decrying the Special Constabulary. I have known some excellent Specials in my time. I am decrying the government’s cynical reliance on the one part of the Service that is UNPAID.
So, history obviously does repeat itself, the Armed Forces and the Police Service suffering the same fates. If I had the data for the Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS etc I’m sure the graphs would look pretty much the same.
The number of armed conflicts our Forces are involved in doesn’t ever seem to go down, the number of incidents and crimes our Police deal with is escalating rapidly.
“Do More With Less For Longer” – ConDem Slogan 2010-2015