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Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System

Volume 590: debated on Monday 5 January 2015

I am pleased to inform you that we have published a report conducted on the Ministry’s behalf, “Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System”, on Sunday the 21 December 2014, alongside the Government’s response and two supporting analytical reports.

This review was announced in Parliament in January 2014. The aim of the review was to identify properly the reasons for ex-service personnel ending up in the justice system, to look at the support provided to them and how that support could be improved.

I strongly agree with the report’s findings that we have an obligation to ensure those who serve in the armed forces are not disadvantaged because of their service. While I am reassured by the findings of this report that most ex-service personnel have successful civilian lives and do not enter the criminal justice system, my Government’s response demonstrates that we will consider any recommendation that will improve the lives of the small minority of ex-armed forces that commit offences.

While we are still continuing to explore what more can be done to deliver the recommendations, I am pleased to note there are a number of positive responses, particularly in the areas of identification and tracking of ex-armed forces offenders, data gathering and sharing. We were also able to highlight the benefits for ex-armed forces offenders of Government programmes, such as transforming rehabilitation and liaison and diversion.

As part of the response my Ministry has committed to publish an update next year of progress against the recommendations.

I am grateful to Stephen Phillips MP QC and his team for conducting this review. I would also like to give my thanks to Rory Stewart MP for the work he did establishing the review before handing over to Stephen.

Copies of each of these reports will be available in the Libraries of the House.