Servicemen and women returning from active combat abroad should have access to "decompression" advice to tackle problems in readjusting to civilian life and to stem the rising numbers of veterans entering the criminal justice system, according to a group of MPs and unions, reported in The Guardian 05 Jul 2010:
The proposal, from the all-party justice unions' parliamentary group (JUPG), is part of a national strategy to reduce offending among veterans.
It follows a Guardian report last month suggesting thousands of former military personnel were being arrested across Britain each month, many for violent crimes, and echoes earlier calls by a former chief inspector of prisons, Lord Ramsbotham for a Cabinet Office minister to be given responsibility for the welfare of current and former military personnel.
Recommendations, put forward by the MPs to the ministries of defence and justice, include: giving those returning from combat a psychological assessment before they leave the service, with special attention to alcohol or drug issues; asking police to monitor arrested veterans and refer them if necessary to specialist help (currently being piloted by Kent police); requiring GPs to ask if patients have served in the forces; and completion of a thorough justice ministry survey, using probation and prison officers, to ascertain how many veterans are currently in the criminal justice system. ...