SOME 25 years ago I offered, by means of a letter, the idea of the use of National Service, in response to problems somewhat similar to those of today.

I was given the lame excuse that if the nation was to consider reintroducing National Service the rest of the world would assume we were preparing for war; and that we no longer had the resources, expertise or personnel to run such an operation.

Nothing much has changed -- for the better that is, except that we now are at war and our armed forces are run off their feet policing most of the world.

So, yes National Service could be a great idea; but not just for young men of 20-plus, but for all from 17 to 25 in all walks of life and of both sexes, after all, equal opportunities are most important.

There should also be no exemption on the grounds of religion, race, creed or colour. The duration of service should be for two years.

Exemptions would be considered for those in full time education to the end of their studies, at which time they would also serve.

Also mothers with children under the age of 16 where no care can be provided by their close relatives; and of course, all those in vital services and employment in much the same way that they were in the 1950s.

The benefits? Crime would be reduced by 75 per cent. Drug abuse would be almost eliminated. Drunkenness reduced and ASBOs would be no longer required!

I accept that this could lead to a mass exodus from the country but I also believe that it would bring an end to the false asylum seekers etc., and would cost no more than the proposed identity cards for all.

R HARVEY-MORAN, Barnes Avenue, Rawtenstall.