LETTER : National service for community

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The Independent Online
Sir: Mike Bird (letter, 1 April) cites an appalling crime committed by professional soldiers in Cyprus as an argument against reintroduction of national service. Violent crimes in the services are rare. The armed forces do an excellent job in developing discipline, self-respect and responsibility.

A national obligation to serve in the armed forces may well be politically unacceptable today. But I have no doubt that some form of obligation on all young people to do jobs of value to the community would help to promote caring and responsibility, and reduce the alienation and frustration which explain (but do not excuse) much juvenile crime.

John Hunt

(Lord Hunt KG)