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The army is recruiting poor teenagers in its most dangerous roles because it cannot find adults to fill vacancies, a campaign group warned last night.
Almost 30 per cent of last year's new recruits were aged 16 or 17, the most in any year since the financial year ending 2011.
Data - Child - Rights - International - Network
Data from the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) found that, alongside the increasing proportion of young people enlisting, army recruits often come from poorer backgrounds.
The network, which campaigns against Britain recruiting under-18s to its armed forces, said many of these recruits hail from the outskirts of cities in the north, reported the Guardian.
Charlotte - Cooper - CRIN - Campaigns - Coordinator
Charlotte Cooper, CRIN's campaigns coordinator, told the Guardian: 'The army is leaning on teenagers from the most deprived backgrounds to fix its recruitment crisis, using them to fill the riskiest roles because it can't persuade enough adults to enlist.'
According to the most recent figures, running to the end of March 2019, 1,000 16 year olds and 820 17 year olds signed up to the army, making up 28.8 per cent of all new recruits.
Age - Army - Recruit - Year
The most common age for any new army recruit last year was 16.
Blackpool South, Hereford and Hull East were the areas where the largest number of under 18s signed up to join the army between 2013 and 2018.
Number - Constituencies - London - Barnet - Hackney
A number of wealthier constituencies in London, including Chipping Barnet and Hackney south, saw no 16 or 17 year olds join the army.
Under 18s are not allowed to engage in combat operations, instead they train at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
Permission - Parent
Permission to enlist is required from a parent or guardian, but on a...
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