A grant of £94,779 has been awarded to King’s College London (KCL), for a 12-month study into offending behaviour, mental health and the welfare needs of ex-Service personnel entering the criminal justice system, and to compare this to general population offenders…

Although the majority of those leaving the armed forces successfully transition into military life, a minority have a bleaker outlook and find themselves involved in the Criminal Justice System (CJS), sometimes as a result of health, behavioural and social problems. Until now, there has been limited opportunity to explore the nature and needs of veterans in the CJS and to directly compare with offenders who have not served in the military.

The aim of this study is to examine national court liaison and diversion service data to provide new understanding of offending behaviour, mental health and welfare needs of veterans entering the criminal justice system compared to general population offenders. This will help to inform policy and practice in the field of ex-Armed Forces offender health and welfare.

The 12-month project will be conducted by Dr Deirdre MacManus, Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, and Professor Neil Greenberg, both at King’s College London.

Dr Deirdre MacManus said: “We know that a small but significant subgroup of ex-military personnel end up in the Criminal Justice System. It is important for us to understand their welfare, mental health and offender needs in order to provide the most appropriate support to this population to cut the cycle of offending. We’re delighted that FiMT have awarded us the funding we need to undertake this timely research.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We know that, sadly, some ex-Service personnel end up within the Criminal Justice System and we currently lack a full understanding of the differences, if any, in their offending behaviour, mental health and welfare needs system compared to those of the general population. This study will provide an essential insight into veterans’ needs compared to those of non-veterans. This chimes with the Armed Forces Covenant principle of ensuring no disadvantage due to military service.

"The findings from will be of particular interest to the NHS and the Ministry of Justice, who will consequently be able better plan and provide for those veterans who do find themselves in contact with the criminal justice system, thus supporting Forces in Mind Trust’s strategy to provide an evidence base with which to influence policy makers and service deliverers.”