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Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact of raising the minimum recruitment age on the ability of the armed services to meet recruitment targets. 
Mr. Touhig: If the armed forces were required to raise minimum age of entry it would create serious manning problems, since 35 percent of all recruits in financial year 200405 were aged under 18. The services, in particular the Army, would be unable to man current structures and maintain current capabilities. It is probable that should minimum entry age be raised, the good quality candidates would settle into other careers and thus be lost to the services.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to investigate ways in which a broader pool of post-18 year-old recruits to the armed services might be attracted. 
Recruit marketing and advertising is both strategic and tactical and aimed at all ages within the target audience, but focused where necessary.
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Examples of initiatives specifically aimed at those aged 18 and over include:
Mr. Touhig: Armed forces employment is open to British, Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens providing they meet the required entry eligibility standards. While marketing is aimed at those of pre-eligible age, eligibles, and parents/gatekeepers, the bulk of recruit marketing is targeted at the 1624 age group.
Employment in cap-badged posts in the Royal Marines General Service, the Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps, the Infantry, and the Royal Air Force Regiment are closed to women for reasons of combat effectiveness.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what means he monitors the practice of Phase I training establishments (a) in collecting information concerning the immediate family members of recruits and (b) providing contact details of welfare officers and commanding officers; and what steps he is taking to review this information at Phase II entry level. 
Mr. Touhig: A study into current working welfare arrangements is currently being undertaken by the Defence Individual Training Capability Team in conjunction with the Service Personnel Policy area. The main part of their remit is to look closely at working welfare arrangements on training establishments.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) casualty notification officers and (b) casualty visiting officers are employed by the Army; what the course content of induction training for theseposts is; and what the duration of training is for each. 
Mr. Touhig: All brigade headquarters maintain a roster of available officers for Casualty Notification Officers and Visiting Officers duties. Numbers on the rosters vary but each headquarters will normally have about 50 Officers listed to carry out these duties.
Seminars/Study days are conducted by all brigade headquarters on a regular basis. They comprise of presentations and discussions on: casualty administrative
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procedures; repatriation; funerals; pensions; Army Welfare Service; understanding bereavement (but not counselling); role of Army chaplains; and the investigation process.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date he approved the issue of a guidance note dealing with the care and management of under-18s in the armed services; what the principal developments are that build upon existing practice and previous guidelines; what steps he has taken to circulate the note among (a) those responsible for implementing its recommendations and (b) under-18 recruits; how he will monitor the effectiveness of the guidelines; and if he will place a copy in the Library. 
Mr. Touhig: A guidance note on care for the Service personnel under the age of 18, approved by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, was issued to the Principal Personnel Officers of each of the three Services on 12 July 2005. This was then disseminated through the three Services' chains of command. The armed forces continuously monitor the effectiveness of the care given to under-18s. External inspection and audit provides further assurance.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to further his investigation of the feasibility of undertaking Criminal Records Bureau checks on personnel who supervise recruits and trainees who are aged under 18 years; and what plans he has to introduce these checks. 
Mr. Touhig: Under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, Criminal Records Bureau checks do not apply to those working with service personnel between the ages of 16 and 18 because they are in full-time employment. We continue to keep the relevant legislation under review.
Mr. Touhig: A guidance note on care for the under-18s was issued to the Principal Personnel Officers of each of the three Services on 12 July 2005. This includes guidance on armed guarding. A copy of this guidance note is available in the Library of the House.
As at 1 September 2005, the total strength of the Regular Army was 107,340. This figure includes trained and untrained personnel. The Regular Army data as at 1 October 2005 is not yet available. The data is due to be released on 11 November and will be available on the DASA website www.dasa.mod.uk
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Between 1 October 2004 and 30 September 2005,1,590 people have been recruited to the Infantry Territorial Army. This only includes new recruits and those from the Regular Reserve. This figure does not include recruitment to NRPS, those joining the University Officer Training Corps, Full Time Reserve Staff and those flowing to and from Mobilised TA.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's definitions are of (a) bullying and (b) harassment; and by reference to which external organisations these definitions were benchmarked. 
Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence's definitions of harassment and bullying are set out in the Department's unified guidance on the handling of complaints of harassment and bullying, issued as a Joint Service Publication (JSP 763) in April 2005, which states that:
Bullying is a form of harassment, and describes a threatening or intimidating environment in which one or more people may become fearful or intimidated because of the negative or hostile behaviour of one or more people. It often involves a misuse of power or position. It is usually persistent, often unpredictable, and may be vindictive, cruel, or malicious. However, it can also arise without intent, such as when a person is unaware of the impact of his or her behaviour on someone else. Harassment is unwanted behaviour by one or more people, whether intentional or not, which violates a person's dignity and creates feelings of anxiety, humiliation, awkwardness, distress or discomfort which can have devastating consequences for that person.
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