The Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have a presence throughout the country, from Culdrose near Land’s End to Dounreay near John O'Groats. We are represented throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We are a major source of employment with some 300,000 people working in Defence: 190,000 in the Armed Forces, over 80,000 civilian MOD staff, as well as 23,000 servicemen and women currently training and those civilians who are employed locally at the many Defence establishments across the country and abroad. Overall, the 'population' of the Defence Community is roughly equivalent to the population of a city the size of Belfast. Many more jobs are sustained indirectly through defence activity including 400,000 in the defence industry.
We have an important role to play in modern Britain, and understand the need to keep in close touch with the community, and to be representative of the people we serve. We do not tolerate any form of prejudice, unlawful discrimination, or harassment. Genuine equality of opportunity is provided to everybody, irrespective of sex, race, or religion, and without reference to social background or sexual orientation.
We contribute to the community in many ways, including:
- The Reserve Forces - some 38,850 volunteer reserves in almost 400 separate centres throughout the country, providing an important link between the Armed Forces and the community at large
- The Cadets Forces, which we support both financially and materially, help to keep young people in touch with the Armed Forces. Our work with the Cadets also supports Government education and youth policies, particularly those aimed at delivering the national curriculum and vocational qualifications by providing personal development opportunities in duty, leadership, citizenship and teamwork. There are currently over 111,000 cadets (aged between 12 and 22), supervised by 22,000 volunteer adults, in more than 3,000 cadet units
- 48 University Units, drawn from all three Services
- The provision of Defence Dynamics which is a free and easy to use online teaching resource for 14-16 year olds. The mulitmedia resources draw on examples of the MOD's work to help students apply their learning to real-life exciting contexts
Our Armed Forces also directly support the community in times of need. They help to support the police in Northern Ireland. They provide an expert capability throughout the United Kingdom to assist the civil authorities in dealing with explosive ordnance, from terrorist devices to bombs left over from both World Wars. They are ready to help during natural disasters such as winter flooding and provide cover during industrial action by the emergency services, such as the firemen's strike of late 2002/early 2003.
Other contributions we make to the community include:Search and Rescue
Both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy provide an on-call helicopter Search and Rescue capability within the UK, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The RAF Mountain Rescue Teams also make a valuable contribution, often operating in atrocious weather conditions. In 2009-10, the Search and Rescue forces were called out 2,418 times, helping 1,873 people.Fishery Protection
The Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron operates under contract to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It provides reassurance to fishermen and enforces fisheries legislation within British Fisheries Limits, helping to conserve valuable and fragile fish stocks around Britain's coasts.Counter Drug Operations
The Armed Forces are involved in assisting the civil authorities to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United Kingdom. From April 2009 to March 2010, the Royal Navy has assisted in the seizure of some 18 metric tonnes of narcotics. Periodic Customs operations closer to the UK are supported by the Navy and Air Force, helping to reduce the threat to our society from illegal drugs.Explosive Ordnance Disposal
The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force bomb disposal teams are always on alert around the country, ready to help the police with unexploded ordnance. Sometimes they will have to deal with a terrorist bomb while at other times they will be called out to deal with devices left over from two World Wars, all of which require quick and safe disposal.The Meteorological Office
The Met Office provides a weather forecasting service for the military and civilian community. It produces the weather reports and updates which we see on our television screens every day.The Hydrographic Office
The Hydrographic Office provides nautical maps and charts for both the national and international maritime community.
We are taking forward a number of new and innovative initiatives for increasing still further our contribution to society. For example, spare capacity in our training establishments is being used to train civilian apprentices, to the benefit of MOD and British industry alike. Military doctors are working alongside their NHS colleagues at the newly opened Centre for the Defence Medicine at Birmingham and at Ministry of Defence Hospital Units located in NHS hospitals in Derriford (Plymouth), Frimley Park (near Aldershot), Peterborough and Northallerton, maintaining the skills they need in the field by treating both military and civilian patients.
We look forward to continuing to play a role in communities up and down the country. We believe that this is of great benefit both to us and to the public we serve.