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Ex-service Personnel

Volume 525: debated on Wednesday 16 March 2011

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the Member for Reigate (Mr Blunt) and I wish to make the following joint statement.

Further to the announcement on 15 September 2010, Official Report, column 40WS on the number of ex-service personnel in prison in England and Wales, we want today to announce the findings of the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) study into the number of former service personnel on probation in England and Wales. DASA estimates that 3.4% (or 5,860) of those supervised by probation trusts in England and Wales, as at 30 September 2009, had previously served as regulars in the UK armed forces. The figure has been adjusted upwards to take into account the incompleteness of DASA’s service leavers database which did not hold reliable records for those who had left the services prior to 1979 (Naval Service), 1973 (Army) and 1969 (RAF).

The analysis entailed matching the personal details of all 18-year-olds and over with a supervision record held by the 35 probation trusts in England and Wales (172,203 records as at 30 September 2009) against DASA’s service leavers database (1.3 million records). Of the matched records, 57% were for community orders; 25% for suspended sentences orders and 18% for post-release licences. DASA also found this group to be predominately male (99%), ex-Army (81%), other rank (99%), with 50% being 35 years of age or over. DASA calculated that for ex-service personnel on probation, the time between discharge from the armed forces and the start of their current supervision record varied from zero to 47 years, with 49% having received their supervision record within 10 years of leaving and only 6% within a year of leaving. Information on previous cases of supervision records for these individuals was not available. However, DASA also estimated that overall, a male member of the general population aged 18-54 was 12% more likely to have a probation supervision record than a former member of the armed forces. The proportion of the general population who had probation records for criminal damage was 74% higher than for a veteran. On the other hand, DASA determined that the proportion of ex-service personnel subject to probation supervision records for robbery was 37% higher than the proportion of the general population of similar age group.

DASA’s report is published in full on their website: A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House.