Army chiefs tell sacked soldiers: 'We need you back'

Desperate army chiefs tell sacked soldiers ‘we need you back’: Troops fired for fighting, theft or smoking cannabis are considered for rehire – only drug dealers and heroin junkies would be barred

  • Troops who were medically discharged will also be allowed to rejoin 
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Desperate defence chiefs are allowing ex-soldiers to rejoin the Army after they were sacked for fighting, theft or going AWOL.

Troops who were medically discharged will also be allowed to rejoin, and will be able to keep any compensation they received when they were forced to retire.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has also said that soldiers who left the Forces after taking redundancy more than two years ago will likely be able to rejoin without having to pay back any cash.

It is understood that those who were sacked for smoking cannabis or who tested positive for drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines might also be reconsidered.

But personnel discharged for taking heroin or for selling drugs to other soldiers would not be allowed to return.

Former soldiers who were sacked for fighting, theft or going AWOL are being allowed to rejoin the army

The age at which soldiers can rejoin has also recently been increased from 52 to 57.

The changes have been announced on the MoD’s website and form part of a new online recruitment campaign aimed at boosting troop numbers.

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The Army is currently 4,000 soldiers understrength, and the latest Government figures show that more troops are leaving the Armed Forces than are joining.

More than 16,000 troops left the Armed Forces in 2022 – the highest number in six years – but over the same period only 12,000 troops joined up. It comes after defence chiefs spent more than £70 million on recruitment campaigns between 2019 and 2021.

The Army’s website states: ‘You can apply to rejoin subject to any time bar or caveat associated with your discharge category. Each rejoiner will be considered on a case by case basis dependent on the nature of the discharge and the needs of the Army.

‘If you were medically discharged your details will be reviewed and treated on a case by case basis.’

Colonel Philip Ingram, a former military intelligence officer, said: ‘Recruiting soldiers who have been administratively or medically discharged smacks of desperation, and the MoD really needs to look at why retaining people is so difficult.

‘Poor accommodation, poor food, poorly serviced garrison towns, having to fill in for public servants who are striking when they are already on higher pay than the soldiers will all be contributing factors.

‘The Army must get a grip and its leaders need to lead, which is something that unfortunately I am hearing less and less of.’

An Army spokesman said: ‘The rejoiner policy is a long-standing policy. We continue to have sufficient numbers to meet operational need.’

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