Ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) have distinct patterns of offending and mental health problems compared to offenders from a non-Service background, according to a Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded report…

Researchers at King’s College London looked at ex-Service personnel identified through the CJS as having social or mental health needs. They found ex-Service personnel were more likely to have Anxiety disorders, which included PTSD, and Adjustment Disorder as well as higher levels of co-occurring mental health problems than people with a non-Service background.

The types of offence committed were also notably different. Report authors found higher rates of interpersonal violence and motoring offences and less acquisitive offending (theft, burglary, fraud) among ex-Service personnel.

Researchers found that the likelihood of offending behaviour increases with time since leaving the Armed Forces, with 60% of the cohort having left over five years ago. Almost a quarter left between one and five years ago highlighting the potential for early intervention.

Recommendations from the report include:

• Workforce training
• Service development
• Offence reduction work
• Assessment of PTSD

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The recommendations in the report would help the CJS staff to provide a service that meets the needs of ex-Service personnel, and encourage increased collaboration across the Armed Forces charity sector, MOD and the NHS.”

Dr Deirdre MacManus, Clinical Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, said: “We are very grateful to have received funding from FiMT to carry out this research and have been able to make important recommendations for improvements to staff training and provision of care and service in the Criminal Justice System to meet the needs of the ex-Service population.”

You can read the full report here.